Here are some easy tips to help you have a more eco-friendly, sustainable Thanksgiving.
1. end wasteful practices.
Use reusable dinnerware, glasses and napkins. Not only is it better for the environment, but who likes cutting turkey with a plastic knife and hoping the gravy won’t soak through the paper plate? Additionally, collect and wash empty glass and plastic food containers – these are great for storing leftovers and can be sent home with your guests. Think you might not have enough? Ask your family and friends to bring their own reusable containers, jars and tins.
2. purchase local and organic foods when possible.
There are significant benefits of using local and organic foods, and free range and naturally fed animals taste better. While a lot of these choices may seem cost-prohibitive, buying even one or two items locally and/or organically grown can make a difference.
3. eat mindfully.
Thanksgiving is traditionally a day for eating to excess, but if you take a few moments to enjoy your food and eat with a purpose, you’ll most likely find that you’ve eaten less than you normally do.
4. eat less meat.
The meat industry is the number one source of methane gas, which is a major contributor to climate change. Another major environmental impact of a meat-eating diet is the depletion of natural resources. Even if you’re not vegetarian, try adding a little less meat to your plate and filling the rest of the plate with healthy sides, such as squash, green beans or kale.
5. get outside.
The temperature around Thanksgiving is perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Connecting with nature doesn’t have to involve hiking up a mountain, just being outside and feeling the sun on your face improves your mood and health greatly.
6. plant a tree.
Start a new green Thanksgiving tradition: plant a tree! Autumn is a great time to spruce up your backyard with some fresh tree saplings — and with so many great reasons for planting trees, how can you resist?
7. lower your boozy footprint
Not only consider buying local (and organic) food, but also wine and beer! The less your booze has to travel from the manufacturer to your dinner table the lower the carbon footprint.
8. decorate with nature.
Forget the petroleum-based plastic and synthetic decorations and adorn your table with natural and homemade festive decor. Fill clear vases with pinecones, acorns and colorful leaves. Popped open your organic wine bottles already? Carve a small slit in the corks, and slide in a piece of paper with a guest’s name to create unique, upcycled place settings.
9. compost your kitchen scraps.
Composting kitchen scraps can have a big impact. Twenty-four percent of the waste Americans send to landfills is organic waste, meaning kitchen scraps. Keeping that waste out of landfills doesn’t just save space, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, as decomposition in landfills creates methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Save money, reduce waste, and celebrate a happy, healthy, and green Thanksgiving.