Living green isn’t always easy, (just ask Kermit the Frog) and during Thanksgiving there’s plenty of other worries to fill your plate… (pun intended.) According to RecycleWorks, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%! To take one thing off that metaphorical plate this holiday season, we’ve made a list of 5 simple ways you can have a green Thanksgiving.
Cloth vs. paper
To quote a wise character, and famously great entertainer, “No one’s gloomy or complaining, while the flatware’s entertaining”.
We’ll give you a hint
Turning Thanksgiving into a big, beautiful production is almost as much a tradition as the turkey itself; tablecloth, china, silverware, cloth napkins, etc. While reusable items like these are naturally the quickest way to reduce your carbon footprint, it’s not always feasible. For those whose holiday event is a bit more simple, disposable products may be more your speed, and there are some great eco-friendly items out there.
Consider palm leaf products from Buy Green. They’re actually reusable, but if you don’t want to use them again they’re 100% biodegradable and compostable. Simpler still, Seventh Generation and Marcal paper products, made with recycled and recyclable materials, can be found at your local grocery store.
Using that perfect segue, if disposable products are your jam, consider having at least two trash bins for guests. It’s common to place the trash bin in a central location and allow guests to dispose of waste there. Trouble is, recyclable items often get tossed as well. By designating one bin for trash and the other for recyclables, guests can assist in your quest for a green Thanksgiving and eco-superiority.
If you compost, you might even add an additional bin. Just be sure your guests are familiar with composting and only dispose of organic non-hazardous materials.
Find great recipes on Pinterest for re-purposing leftovers
Did you know, more than 28 billion pounds of food are wasted each year? One of the easiest ways to reduce your waste and make this a green Thanksgiving is to plan ahead and apply portion control.
Use Less Stuff lists approximate portion sizes like:
- Turkey: 1 pound/per person
- Stuffing: ¼ pound/per person
- Cranberry sauce 3 tablespoons
- Pumpkin pie: 1/8 of a 9-inch pie/per person
In addition to portion control, Pinterest has some incredible ideas for using left-over food!
Buy locally sourced
Buying locally not only lets you enjoy fresh food, but also supports your local economy. Look for farmers markets, co-op programs and u-pick options in your area for the freshest produce, dairy and meats. Choose organic wines or micro-brews for your holiday toast.
Organic and Fair-trade
While a vegan Thanksgiving might technically be the “greenest”, for many turkey and other animal products are traditionally on the menu. You can often find organic versions raised without the use of pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones or other potentially harmful components. More and more grocery stores and local markets are stocking organic food, making it easier to make your feast as green as possible.
Fair-trade products, though not tied to the environment, are another simple way to be a little more earth-friendly. fair- trade is defined as, “trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries”, and includes common items like, chocolate, coffee, and teas. Look for the fair-trade label on the package before you buy.
For more great holiday tips, check out our blog about entertaining in small space.