thanksgiving food

No holiday is more associated with food and eating than Thanksgiving. While it's not the "waist" issue you might think about, it can definitely be a "waste" problem.

Recycle your leftovers

This Thanksgiving don't toss your leftovers. Food waste is the No. 1 item thrown away by Americans, and the Department of Health & Environmental Control is leading an effort to cut down on food waste across South Carolina.

If you've tired yourself out from creating new recipes with your Turkey Day leftovers, try feeding people instead of our landfills. Food donations are a great way to provide surplus food to those who need it while recycling your leftovers.

If you cannot donate or reuse your leftovers, try composting it. Sending food waste to a composting facility or composting at home can improve soil health and structure, increase water retention, support native plants and reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides.

After the feast, recycle the grease

Thanksgiving can also cook up some plumbing disasters if you're wrongly disposing of your cooking fats, oils and greases.

While it seems tempting, do not flush a pan full of oil down your sink. There are many recycling centers across our state that will take your old fats, oils and greases. Keep these tips in mind:

• Don't pour oil down your drain or toilet: It can clog your pipes and/or the city sewer mains.

• Don't dispose of oil in compost bins or piles.

• Fats in general are bad for compost, and cooking oil is nothing but fat.

• Don't pour hot oil into the trash.

For more information on composting, recycling and DHEC's Don't Waste Food SC program, visit scdhec.gov/dontwastefoodsc.