A Big Waste of Turkey
Americans throw away 35 percent
Our modern-day version of Thanksgiving in the United States is commonly traced back to a 17th-century feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that was held in celebration of a good harvest. There was plenty of food for everyone then, and there’s plenty of food now—perhaps too much. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans end up throwing away 35 percent of the turkey (not including bones) they buy for holiday gatherings. “We love to have the big feast at holiday time,” Dana Gunder, food and agriculture scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Discovery News. “That results in a lot more extra food. People do leftovers for a day or two, but people are sick by day three. I think it’s just basic math.”
Tossing all of that turkey isn’t just a waste of money (it adds up to more than $280 million), it’s also terrible for our environment. “Growing a pound of turkey meat uses 468 gallons of water and releases 12 pounds of CO2 emissions according to a report by the Environmental Working Group,” Discovery News pointed out. That’s “equivalent to driving your car 11 miles and taking a 94-minute shower.” With Americans projected to purchase 736 million pounds of the bird for this Thanksgiving (and throw away 204 million pounds), that adds up to 95 billion gallons of water and about one million tons of CO2.
Via Discovery News