Although Thanksgiving may look a bit different for many this year, for those who are planning a traditional meal, please consider ways to safely enjoy the holiday while following COVID-19 guidelines from our public health specialists.  

If you are tasked with meal preparation, please consider the following options to cut back on waste as you plan for this delicious holiday meal.  A complete PDF list or the following tips and can be found online

1.) Plan your shopping list

Take a moment to plan your shopping list; only buy what you know you’ll use. This is especially important when purchasing perishable items like produce, dairy, and meat.

Don't forget reusable bags, if the store allows reusable bags within their COVID-19 protocol. 

2.) Skip paper or plastic cutlery

Ditch disposable, and go for reusable cutlery, dishware, and napkins. They are better for the environment, and reduce your trash load for the holiday week.

3.) Take only what you’ll eat

On a holiday that is all about eating, it’s easy for your eyes to grow bigger than your stomach. Be mindful of your serving size. Give yourself, or ask for, small portions. You can always go back for more!

4.) Don’t throw away food!

Eat what you can first, and compost second.

If you have a lot of extra food, pack doggy bags for your guests and/or freeze extra food.

Compost food scraps like potato peels, eggshells, and bones. If you receive curbside trash, recycling, and organics collection services from the City, you can compost at the curb.

Check out the Organics: Yard Waste and Food Waste handout for a list of accepted materials. Learn more at

5.) Recycle cooking oil, corks and glass

Frying a turkey? Recycle the oil. Place it in a sealed plastic bottle, label it ‘vegetable oil,’ and drop it off in the Oil Recycling Shed at the East Side Recycling Center, 2401 Scott Blvd. SE, or at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, 3900 Hebl Ave. SW.

Glass is accepted at both locations and the South Riverside Recycling Center, 1200 South Riverside Drive. Wine corks can be recycled at the East Side Recycling Center in the designated bin in the Oil Recycling Shed.

Curbside service schedule reminder: Curbside trucks will not collect on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26). If this date falls on your service day, have materials to the curb by 7 a.m. the next day.

Sign up to receive curbside service notices at

Date of publication

Tuesday, November 10, 2020