Household waste in the United States increases more than 25 percent during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. But it is not out of reach for South Carolinians to have a more sustainable holiday season this year if they heed a few tips provided by state environmental officials. An average 68,000 tons of solid waste is disposed of per week in South Carolina. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, about 17,000 more tons are added weekly. Wrapping paper, cardboard and food are the top three forms of waste generated during the holidays.

Richard Chesley, a manager in the state Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling, said food waste is about 24 percent of what people in South Carolina throw away all year. It’s the No. 1 garbage item during the holidays, too, although many people would expect that to be paper. There are several ways to manage garbage, like food waste, during the upcoming holidays.

Most food waste is generated in homes and not from restaurants. To control the amount of food thrown away, people should plan well and prepare portions based on the number of guests they are having. Small plates can also prevent overserving. “Certainly manage your leftovers,” Chesley said. “Send leftovers home with guests in reusable containers, and of course, properly save leftovers and consume later at home.”

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Author: Shamira Mccray, The Post and Courier
Image: Brad Nettles, The Post and Courier