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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

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General Information: 503-823-4000


1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 110, Portland, OR 97204

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Making the most of Thanksgiving leftovers

Food in reusable containersDoesn't everyone like leftovers this time of year? Creative uses for Thanksgiving leftovers helps avoid food waste and provides a better use for the food you bought and prepared for others. Hopefully you have planned the size of your meal to fit your guest list, your guests eat a full meal and they take home leftovers in reusable containers to enjoy another time. (Tools to help you plan your meal and reduce food waste are compiled in Food: Too Good to Waste.)

But what to do with the rest?

To get the most from your bird, make stock with the bones before you compost it. It's easier than you may think. Adding water, carrots, onions, celery and perhaps some favorite herbs and spices or even white wine, you can create flavorful stock to freeze for future winter cooking.

Enjoy your leftovers (many holiday foods taste better the second day anyway), make a turkey sandwich, a casserole, or get creative with your own concoction!

Turkey carcassAnd when you have gotten everything out of your meal, add the turkey bones or any food that’s left to your green Portland Composts! roll cart. To contain messier food scraps, you can line your kitchen compost container with newspapers, a paper bag or approved compostable bags.

Is it food? It's compostable!
Find more residential composting tips and information at

Need help remembering garbage day?
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Have a question for our Curbside Hotline Operator?
Submit your question online or call 503-823-7202.