A Thanksgiving spread

Turn Your Thanksgiving Leftovers into Compost for Your Garden

Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when you can stuff yourself silly. It’s a neverending rotation of the best American meals, from corn to rolls and casseroles to turkey. 

And while all of that food is certainly delicious, the dark truth is that much of it ends up in the landfill. In fact, experts estimate that close to 200 million pounds of turkey, 150 million pounds of sides, and 14 million lbs of dinner rolls are wasted.

However, this year can be different if you decide to have a sustainable Thanksgiving, with your garden playing a pivotal role in eliminating waste.

We’re talking compost. Instead of tossing leftover Thanksgiving meals into the trash bin, there are plenty of ways to reuse them for a healthier, happier yard.

Here are our tips to reduce waste this Thanksgiving!

Composting Food Scraps

vegetable peelings for compost

If you have a “green” materials compost heap and a “brown” materials compost heap, there are many Thanksgiving foods that can go in either instead of being thrown away.

Green materials are rich in nitrogen and protein, warming up the compost pile to enable helpful microorganisms to multiple quickly and thrive.

Brown materials are rich in carbon and carbohydrates, acting as the food source for organisms living in the soil. These organisms help break down the food scraps into compost. Brown organisms also add mass to the pile, allowing air to filter through.

The scraps that can go into the green materials pile include:

  • Corn husks
  • Corn cobs
  • Stems and seeds from veggies
  • Fruit peels
  • Eggshells

The scraps that can go into the brown materials pile include: 

  • Fall leaves
  • Paper plates
  • Cotton fabric
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Compostable disposable silverware

Scraps for Chickens and Wildlife

Some foods such as meats, bread, and corn can be fed to animals instead of composted (meats don’t help compost much, anyway). 

If you have chickens or there are plenty of birds and other wildlife around, turn these scraps into food instead of throwing them away.

Birds eating bread out of a hand

Get Creative with Plastic Containers

Do you have a ton of leftover plastic containers and serving platters? Turn these items into planters for a container garden! 

You can also use them to organize garden products in your shed. Large jugs can hold different types of gravel, landscaping stones, and Fire Glass colors. 

Small tubs can be used to hold gardening tools. You can use the platters for starter seeds, as well.

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