Have an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving
It’s that time of year again! With Thanksgiving comes large family gatherings and even larger family dinners. As you go through the process of preparing for your holiday festivities, here are a few eco-friendly Thanksgiving tips to help you along the way.
Our Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Tips
Meal Planning: Okay, I’m not going to tell you to serve a tofu turkey to your guests. I know that’s not likely to sit well with most readers and I’m not sure it sounds real good anyway. That said, there are still some things you can do in order to minimize the impact to the environment from this feast.
Be realistic about how much food is required for the number of guests you expect. This should act as the starting point for determining the number of portions, sizes, and how many varieties of food you plan to serve. Take a moment to think about how much food is thrown out every year because too much is prepared. Do you really need to do a turkey and ham for the meal or can the ham wait until Christmas? With solid planning you can limit the amount of Thanksgiving waste from the very beginning. Some of this planning could be making frozen meals from the leftovers. An eco-friendly Thanksgiving starts with a good plan!
Hit the Farmers Market: With your plan in hand, hit up your local farmers market. If you don’t have one or it’s no longer in season, shop for organic products in your local grocery store. By shopping organic, you ensure that the foods you serve are GMO-free, and have had limited pesticides and herbicides applied.
Cleaning Before People Gather: Opt for eco-friendly cleaners or even better, follow one of our homemade cleaning recipes. They’re remarkably eco-friendly and do just as good a job as the store bought detergents without all the harsh chemicals. By using eco-friendly cleaners, you’ll start off with a clean house; but also keep from adding unnecessary pollutants into the air for your guests to breathe in.
Get Your Guests Active: Use the holiday gathering as a chance to make new memories and do something together. Don’t settle for another entire afternoon in front of the television watching Thanksgiving football games! Take a walk during halftime or play your own touch football game outside.
Conserve Energy Where it Makes Sense: If you expect to have your oven running for several hours, cut the thermostat down. This also applies if you plan to leave for the holiday. Also, purchasing the right size turkey versus the largest one you can find is a great way to use less energy in preparing your bird. You can easily cut an hour of cook time just by selecting a smaller bird. In our house, we often just prepare a single breast – much simpler to prepare and it still goes a long way.
Make Your Table Eco-Friendly: Stick with cloth napkins and use your dishware – no need for the disposable paper plates (unless you opt for compostable materials). While they hold up really well, they don’t get recycled and turn into a single use and then go off to the landfill. Wash your dishes using an eco-friendly dish soap and you’re still doing well!
Compost What You Can: Once your eco-friendly thanksgiving is wrapping up, it’s time to do the clean-up. Resist the temptation to plow through everything and dump right into the trash. If you’ve got fruits or vegetables scraps that can be composted then be sure to take the extra step. The same thing goes for any other compostable materials the family went through on the day.
Thanksgiving is a great time to give thanks for what we have in our lives. Let’s also use it as a chance to give thanks for the abundance of resources available by using less of them this Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving! Go Green and be more environmentally friendly this year!