Feed the Animals: Donate Your Holiday Leftovers to the Zoo

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With so much to do to prepare for Thanksgiving, you may not have a plan for your leftover food. With the whole family in town, it’s easy to buy too much and end up with extra. This holiday season, instead of eating leftovers for a month or letting it go to waste, you can find another way to repurpose your uneaten foods. Don’t let your excess end up in a landfill as a part of the 113 billion pounds, in the U.S. alone, that will go wasted this year. Find a creative way to get rid of your leftovers. Donate your uneaten food to the zoo for animal feed. Here are five places that repurpose food donations as animal feed.

  1. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo of Colorado Springs, CO: Did you buy too many boxes of cornflakes for those casseroles? Never fear, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo will take them off your hands. This zoo is part of a nonprofit organization and relies on a variety of donations, food and non-food, to keep their animals healthy and happy.
  2. Austin Zoo of Austin, TX: Austin Zoo will take that celery and those apples that didn’t quite make it into the stuffing. Buy an extra turkey and forget to thaw it? It will take that, too! It will even take those eggs or fruit juice you didn’t get around to using. Austin Zoo accepts your unopened, in-date excess food.
  3. Oakland Zoo of Oakland, CA: Oakland Zoo accepts donations of fruit, vegetables and bakery items that you couldn’t eat. If you regularly over-purchase produce, you can come during its Feast for the Beasts, where you can watch the animals eat the food you brought them.
  4. Topeka Zoo of Topeka, KS: Didn’t get around to making that pumpkin pie? Topeka Zoo will take that canned pumpkin! It will also get those peppermint patties out of your house so you don’t eat them all. Since the animals like sweets, too, send your cake mixes and fruit snacks to the Topeka Zoo.
  5. MGM Resorts of Las Vegas, NV: If you’re not the type of person that likes to cook your own holiday dinner, why not take a trip to lovely Las Vegas to stay at one of the famous MGM resorts? MGM recently received top honors from the EPA for its food scrap recycling program. Every bit of food waste from its Las Vegas resorts gets recycled, whether for animal feed or in compost bins.