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A guide to composting Thanksgiving leftovers

With Thanksgiving suddenly around the corner, many of us have begun preparing for family festivities and the big feast. As you reflect on what you have to be grateful for this year, consider our only home, the Earth. Every Thanksgiving, Americans throw out around 350 million pounds of leftover bird, side dishes, and desserts. 

This staggering amount of waste is a key reason why landfills overflow during the holiday season. In fact, the spike in food waste accounts for roughly 475 thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. So, what can we do to address this massive problem?

By composting unwanted Thanksgiving fare, of course! Diverting our holiday organics from the waste stream can drastically cut down on methane and carbon dioxide emissions generated at landfills. This helps establish sustainable resource ecosystems that support cleaner communities. 

To help get you ready, Team Boot is here to share some composting tips and tricks for the holiday season. 


There’s nothing quite like that first bite of turkey on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the charm tends to wear off after three days of eating the same old thing. Enter composting! But please note, though technically compostable, turkey and other meats may attract vermin and larger animals should you decide to include them in your backyard compost pile or tumbler. 

That said, many residential compost services have the resources, space and expertise to properly manage all types of animal products. 


Who doesn’t love a fresh roll? Worms! Steer clear of adding baked goods to any vermicomposting system. But as the days pass and your bread products become stale, feel free to  add them to your compost bid. Bread is perfectly suitable for any composting environment. 

Fruits and vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables are important components of composting since they are major sources of nitrogen. This means they help balance out the carbon produced by “brown waste” leaves and other landscape material thus) leading to healthy, happier piles. The good news here is that pretty much everything goes. You can toss in vegetable skins, rinds, pits, etc. straight into your bin.

Coffee and desserts

Assuming there’s anything left behind, desserts and coffee (including filters) may be composted too. Contrary to popular belief, coffee grounds are not acidic. Meanwhile, their fragrant aroma makes them a welcome addition to any composting environment.

Get ready for the holidays!

When planning a Thanksgiving get together, the last thing you want to worry about is dealing with leftover food or scraps. To help streamline this process, we offer compostable paper bags designed to store waste and initiate the breakdown process. Our bags are also odor and leak proof, meaning no unwanted smells will seep out and spoil the party. For current customers, just put your waste material out with your Bootstrap bucket and we’ll collect at no extra charge. 

For those interested in making their own compost pile, we offer a variety of products to help kickstart your efforts. With the holidays around the corner, now is also a great time to start shopping for gifts. From black gold to locally-produced tote bags, we have something for the greenthumb in your life. 

And on a personal note, the owners of Bootstrap — Stom, Igor and Andy — wish to acknowledge our own gratitude for our roster of commercial and residential subscribers who provide us with meaningful work and careers. On behalf of our staff of 30+ souls working in six different states (!) thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.