Less Food Waste Makes A Big Impact

Thanksgiving brings out the belief that everyone is going to gobble til’ they wobble, causing family cooks to prepare unparalleled portions of traditional holiday foods. While we all enjoy a great Thanksgiving feast, an unfortunate side effect is waste, with more than 200 million pounds of turkey alone thrown away instead of consumed. That number doesn’t include uneaten green bean casserole, candied yams, Jello salad, Brussels Sprouts, pumpkin pie….wait…there’s no such thing as uneaten pumpkin pie! With these 3 tips to reduce food waste, you can protect the watersheds from holiday food waste.

  1. Stick To A Plan:
    • Before grocery shopping, take inventory of what you already have in your kitchen.
    • A few days past a label’s expiration date doesn’t mean the food isn’t safe to use.
    • Plan for recipes that use the same ingredients to share the groceries among the side dishes.
    • Consider skipping traditional recipes if only a few family members actually eat them.
    • Confirm your guest list and calculate number of portions needed to maximize your menu.
  2. Cook Just Enough:
    • Cut recipes in half for those “gotta have” traditional sides that end up as week-long leftovers.
    • Many ovenware manufacturers make mini casserole dishes that will let you have a taste of Aunt Sally’s famous corn casserole without the waste.
    • For small family gatherings, consider making a stuffed turkey breast or small roast chicken.
  3. Use Everything:
    • Don’t peel or trim vegetables that will end up smashed, mashed or in a casserole.
    • Avoid recipes that call for small amounts of an ingredient that you can only buy in large amounts. Spices, specialty cheeses and buttermilk are all examples of special occasion ingredients that can easily go to waste.
    • Combine vegetable tops and peels with water and herbs to make a tasty homemade stock that can be frozen for later use.
    • Find creatives recipes on the Internet to truly repurpose leftovers instead of merely reheating. Toast stuffing for tasty croutons, whip up savory pancakes with mashed potatoes, and spread cranberry sauce on bagels.

Gear Up for Family Fitness

Healthy habits begin at home so a family emphasis on fitness can show your kids just how fun it can be to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. The first step is pulling the kids (and you) away from computers and televisions and heading outside. Why not plan a family bike ride? The Santa Ana River watershed boasts a car-free bike path along the river with access at Fairmount Park, Ryan Bonaminio Park and Martha McLean Anza Narrow Park.

Cycling as a family gives you the opportunity to spend quality time together while burning calories. With the cooler autumn temperatures and a well-maintained bike trail, you’ll have so much fun you may not even notice you’re getting a work out! As a bonus, the memories you create on these family bike rides will be remembered by your children for years to come.

A good way to get started are the community bike ride during the Santa Ana River Trail Bike Festival. This family-friendly event is held Sunday, October 14th, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ryan Bonaminio Park, 5000 Tequesquite Avenue in Riverside. Vendors and community organizations will provide resources for bike-riders of all ages. A bike safety demonstration will please the parents while an acrobatic BMX showcase will delight the kids.

The family ride, starting from the park and traveling along the Santa Ana River trail, is 4.5 miles roundtrip and offers a safe and healthy opportunity to enjoy the bio-diversity and beauty of the Santa Ana River Watershed. The trail is designed for joggers and cyclists with vehicle traffic off-limits. There will be water refill stations available to fill-up your water bottles along the trail.

The festival is open to all ages and it is a great way to get your kids disconnected from their gaming systems and outdoors exploring the natural world showcased in our watersheds. For more information, or to register for this FREE event, go to www.SARTbikefestival.org.

Calling DIY’ers – FREE Products

DROP off your hazardous waste and SHOP for free products! Stop by our Drop & Shop reuse stores to pick up FREE products for your next home or vehicle maintenance task. All products are inspected and made available to other customers for FREE. Most products are in good condition and sometimes even unopened! Availability of free products varies, but may include: paint, cleaners, pool, spa, lawn care and automotive products. Accepted household hazardous waste varies per location, see below for details.


See the Household Hazardous Waste flyer for addresses and hours.

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