If you've ever been to a Filipino party, you know that you're going to leave with at least one heaping Styrofoam plate full of food to take home (if not an entire aluminum tray of extra pancit or lumpia). This tradition of sending guests home with food, or "baon" is just an extension of our desire to feed the people we love and care about. According to Chef AC Boral, owner/chef of Baon restaurant in LA, “Baon is a word that is really deep in the Filipino culture — food that you travel with or food that you take with you, from taking it to lunch to having it be something you bring from a family party."
Whether your holiday party consists of lechon or ham, pancit or mashed potatoes, we all want to provide an abundance of good food for our families. This shared fear of not having enough food for guests often creates one sad downside to all the holiday celebration: food waste.
According to the EPA, during this season, Americans throw out 25% more than the rest of the year (that's roughly an EXTRA 1 million tons per week).
In an effort to minimize your waste footprint this holiday season, consider taking on the Filipino tradition of "baon" and send people home with an array of leftovers that they can enjoy the next day. And take it a step further by avoiding the paper or Styrofoam plates and foil or cling wrap, and start putting aside all the take-out, yogurt, salad, olive, etc. containers now.
Tips for reusing containers and packing leftovers:
- Clean, dry, and store your hodgepodge containers in a basket or box and have it ready for your guests post-meal.
- Save all different types of containers and bags. You never know what kinds of leftovers people will want to take. Bread and rolls are easily put into bags, and salad mix containers can hold a good amount of prepared salad or pie.
- Let guests pack their own take-away containers as they know best what their family will eat in the coming days.
- Remind guests to clean out their containers once they've emptied them of leftovers and place them in the proper sorting container (most hard plastics can be recycled, but check your city's guide).
How are you making an effort to reduce food waste and other waste this holiday season? Share your tips and stories below!