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Green Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only a few days away but for many people, planning started weeks ago. Pre-planning can help save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Planning your Thanksgiving menu allows plenty of time to shop for food and supplies. Shopping can be done in an orchestrated manner saving on gas, time and avoiding pollution.

In addition to pre-planning, there are a number of other ways to green your Thanksgiving this year:

Eliminate Food Waste: Huffington Post senior editor Joseph Erbentraut recently wrote about the food waste problem in America. He said:

“Americans end up throwing out about one-quarter of the food they buy and about 97 percent of that waste ends up in landfills, contributing to greenhouse emissions. At the same time, there are nearly 50 million food-insecure Americans who are going without.”

Before going shopping, check cabinets and pantries to see what you have. You may have already have enough staples like chicken broth, spices, flour and sugar. To avoid waste, don’t be tempted to buy more than you need. It’s hard to estimate exactly how much food is needed, especially if you want leftovers. Good Housekeeping offers a handy guide for the most common foods served on Thanksgiving.

Food waste can also be reduced by using all parts of fruit and vegetables, i.e., leaving the skin on potatoes, freezing leftovers, composting scraps or donating leftovers.

Buy Local: Choose foods that are locally grown and feed money into your community. Organically grown foods are better for the environment because no antibiotics or pesticides were used. Pasture raised, sustainable turkeys can be found at turkey farms across the country and cold weather climates still have an abundance of locally grown squash, sweet potatoes, onions and other vegetables. 

Eliminate Disposable Containers: While it is tempting to use disposable bakeware and dinnerware, use the real thing. Eco-friendly kitchen items like a durable, stainless steel roasting pan can hold a 20 pound turkey better than a disposable pan and will last a lifetime. If you still prefer to use disposable roasting pans, choose a pans made from recycled aluminum and that are recyclable. Additionally, avoid disposable plates and utensils. Set your table with reusable dinnerware, real silverware and cloth napkins. Finally, ask guests to bring their own reusable containers for leftovers. Containers like this reusable to-go box will be used far beyond Thanksgiving. 

Recycle: If you are hosting a large crowd, designate a recycling bin for your guests. This will keep aluminum cans, juice boxes, wine and beer glass bottles and plastic bottles out of the garbage.

Use nature for decorations and centerpieces: There are so many beautiful things to be found in nature during autumn. Turn pumpkins, gourds, acorns, leaves, etc. into beautiful wreaths and centerpieces for your table. These items will decompose naturally.

Conserve energy: With a house full of guests and ovens and stovetops churning away all day, turn the heat off or down. 

Volunteer or Get Outside: Do something good this Thanksgiving and help the less fortunate in your community and donate your time or resources to local food banks or soup kitchens. Volunteers are also needed at parades, Turkey Trots and other events. Get outside and enjoy nature before Thanksgiving dinner and organize a friendly football game with family and neighbors or participate in a local Turkey Trot.

Eco Promotional Products wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and we hope you enjoy the day with friends and family just as we will.