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How to Celebrate an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving 2019

Thanksgiving is only a couple of 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 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 stock, freezing leftovers or composting scraps. It’s hard to estimate exactly how much food is needed, especially if you want leftovers.  Speaking of leftovers, make plans to eat them. According to the National Resources Defense Council, each year, about 200 million pounds of turkey meat are thrown out over the Thanksgiving holiday week. The NRDC also has a free online free online portion calculator, to figure out the right amount of food you need to prepare for the size of your crowd.

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.

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.

Get Outside. Whether it’s on Thanksgiving or the day after, get outside and enjoy nature. Organize a friendly football game with family and neighbors or participate in a local Turkey Trot before Thanksgiving dinner. On Black Friday, skip the shopping and #optoutside. Five years ago, outdoor retailer REI started a movement for people to reconnect outdoors over the holidays. This year they are taking the #optoutside movement to another level, asking participants to “opt to act” — by joining a nationwide clean-up effort, to leave the outdoors better than they found it.

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