Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away but for many people, planning is already in full swing. Pre-planning can help save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Planning your Thanksgiving menu now 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. 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. Food waste can also be reduced by using all parts of fruit and vegetables, i.e., leaving the skin on potatoes, making vegetable broth, freezing leftovers or composting scraps. 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.
Speaking of leftovers, make plans to eat them. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, “American consumers throw away 27 million tons of food each year, according to the food waste coalition ReFED, clogging landfills, generating greenhouse gasses, and costing the economy an estimated $144 billion. The solution, however, could be simple: get people to eat leftovers again.”
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. Organic turkeys can be found at turkey farms across the country as well as some grocery stores. 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 pans made from recycled aluminum and that are recyclable (most likely they will need to be washed before recycling). 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 container 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. Run your dishwasher only when it’s full. If you have guests staying with you, ask them to reuse their towels.
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.