STANDARDS

CCSS: 3.OA.A.3, 5.NBT.B.5, MP1, MP2, MP8

TEKS: 3.4J, 5.3B

Turkey Isn’t Trash

Food waste is a big problem, during Thanksgiving and beyond

mediaphotos/E+/Getty images

TRASH TIP: Save leftovers, which can be packed for lunch or reheated for dinner.

For many people, Thanksgiving means large family gatherings, big meals, and lots and lots of leftovers. But as you pile the food onto your plate, consider this: In the time it takes to read this sentence, Americans will have thrown away 20,000 pounds of food.

Food waste is a big issue in the world today. We throw away more food than any other type of trash. More than one-fifth of the garbage in U.S. landfills is discarded food.

Thanksgiving means large family gatherings, big meals, and lots of leftovers. But think about how much you really need before you pile the food onto your plate. Americans will have thrown away 20,000 pounds of food in the time it takes to read this sentence.

Food waste is a big issue in the world today. We throw away more food than any other trash. Food is more than one-fifth of the garbage in U.S. landfills. 

Thanksgiving is no exception when it comes to food waste. An estimated 204 million pounds of turkey will end up in the trash after Turkey Day.

Throwing out leftovers isn’t just wasteful—it also has a serious impact on the environment. When food starts to rot, it produces methane. This powerful greenhouse gas gets trapped in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change, a gradual rise in the Earth’s average temperature.

Waste occurs at all levels of the food chain: on farms, in facilities that process food, and in supermarkets and restaurants. But people’s habits at home are the main source of food waste. One-fifth of the food we buy for our homes never gets eaten. Americans waste enough food to fill 44 skyscrapers every year!

Thanksgiving is no exception when it comes to food waste. An estimated 204 million pounds of turkey will end up in the trash after Turkey Day.

Throwing out leftovers isn't just wasteful. It also has a serious impact on the environment. Food produces methane when it starts to rot. This powerful greenhouse gas gets trapped in the atmosphere. There it contributes to global warming. This is a gradual rise in the Earth's average temperature.

Waste occurs at all levels of the food chain. It happens on farms, in processing plants, and in supermarkets and restaurants. But people's habits at home are the main source of food waste. One-fifth of the food we buy never gets eaten. Americans waste enough food to fill 44 skyscrapers every year!    

Patrick Strattner/fStop/Getty images (trash); Janet Bailey/Masterfile (turkey)

Despite all this excess food, millions of people are still going hungry—1 in every 6 Americans struggle to get enough to eat. 

Many organizations have started to address the food waste problem. Food Bus is one example. In this program, students at participating elementary schools collect leftover food from lunches. Volunteers then take any unopened food to local food pantries.

“It’s really up to us to do something about food waste,” says Elise Golan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “We are in the driver’s seat.”

Millions of people are still going hungry despite all this excess food. 1 in every 6 Americans struggles to get enough to eat.

Many organizations have started to address the food waste problem. Food Bus is one example. Students at participating elementary schools collect leftover food from lunches in this program. Volunteers then take any unopened food to local food pantries.

"It's really up to us to do something about food waste," says Elise Golan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "We are in the driver's seat."

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TRASH TIP: Food waste takes up  of the space in landfills. Talk to your parents about donating extra food to a food bank or shelter.

On average, each American wastes about 20 pounds of food every month. How much food is wasted per person in 12 months? The area model has decomposed one of the factors. Multiply the factors together to fill in the blanks.

On average, each American wastes about 20 pounds of food every month. How much food is wasted per person in 12 months? The area model has decomposed one of the factors. Multiply the factors together to fill in the blanks.

Write an equation with your partial products and solve.

Write an equation with your partial products and solve.

The average American throws away roughly $45 worth of fruit every year. What is the total money wasted on discarded fruit per year in a class of 15 students? Draw an area model using partial products to show your answer.

The average American throws away roughly $45 worth of fruit every year. What is the total money wasted on discarded fruit per year in a class of 15 students? Draw an area model using partial products to show your answer.

An estimated 52 pounds of dairy products and 41 pounds of meat, poultry, and fish per person go uneaten each year. How much total dairy and meat/poultry/fish is wasted each year by a class of 32 students? Draw an area model.

An estimated 52 pounds of dairy products and 41 pounds of meat, poultry, and fish per person go uneaten each year. How much total dairy and meat/poultry/fish is wasted each year by a class of 32 students? Draw an area model.

You can decompose factors of any value. The food wasted every day by the average American amounts to 1,249 calories. What is the total amount of food wasted, in calories, by a family of 4 in a day? Decompose 1,249 to solve.

You can decompose factors of any value. The food wasted every day by the average American amounts to 1,249 calories. What is the total amount of food wasted, in calories, by a family of 4 in a day? Decompose 1,249 to solve.

In 2015, Lemon Road Elementary School in Virginia collected 481 pounds of food for the Food Bus project. East Richland Elementary School in Illinois collected 40 times that amount. How many pounds of food did the East Richland students collect?

In 2015, Lemon Road Elementary School in Virginia collected 481 pounds of food for the Food Bus project. East Richland Elementary School in Illinois collected 40 times that amount. How many pounds of food did the East Richland students collect?

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