Thanksgiving is just a week away and whether you're hosting an "all out" gathering with all of your family and friends, traveling to visit loved ones, or keeping it simple with immediate relatives, being conscious about the way you celebrate the holiday is at the heart of it all. Although stereotypical Thanksgiving gatherings have turned into very wasteful events, we're firm believers that keeping it simple and conscious is best and, ultimately, the perfect way to express your gratitude for what you've been given.
These tips for celebrating a more eco-friendly Thanksgiving might seem overwhelming, but take it a tip at a time. Choose your favorites to implement. You'll be amazed at how much of a change a few simple tweaks to your menu and shopping style will make.
At the end of the day, Thanksgiving is about gathering with people you care about to celebrate your blessings, however differently that may look from one family to the next.
1. Limit Your Waste While Shopping for Ingredients
When you shop for your meal's ingredients, be conscious of things like packaging and plastic. Although it's all too easy to pick the cheapest and most convenient options, foregoing plastic wrapped veggies and fruits, and remembering to bring your reusable bags will make a big difference in the waste your Thanksgiving produces.
2. Shop for Locally Grown, Organic and In Season Ingredients
Similarly, choosing ingredients that are in-season, organic and locally grown ensures that you're choosing the healthiest and most sustainable options for your dishes.
3. Reduce Food Waste by Making "Just Enough" And Compost the Rest
Thanksgiving is usually an "extravaganza" characterized by piles of leftovers. Although some would argue, the leftovers are one of the best parts, if you aren't saving your leftover food, it contributes to landfill greenhouse gas emissions once food reaches the landfill. Instead, consider composting your scraps and buying just enough to feed those you'll be feeding.
4. Package Leftovers Responsibly
Instead of the typical clingwrap, ziplock bags, and single-use storage options, opt for reusable containers like Tupperware or mason jars. Beeswax wraps are the perfect alternative to clingwrap for those dishes that need to be covered.
5. Choose a Safely Raised Turkey, Or Go Vegetarian
Similarly to considering where your produce and other ingredients come from, choosing a pasture-raised, organic turkey instead of the cheapest option you can find ensures you're eating the healthiest meat available. Alternatively, consider serving a completely vegetarian Thanksgiving to avoid the hormones and artificial flavorings.
6. Use Natural and Found Materials for Decor
What better way to celebrate gratitude than by using what nature gives us for decor instead of buying cheap plastic alternatives? Grab the kiddos and collect fallen leaves, evergreen branches, wheatgrass, flowers or whatever else grows naturally where you live and create a beautiful tablescape.
7. Ditch SIngle Use Plates and Silverware
Although it means extra dish duty, the benefits of using real dishes as opposed to plastic or styrofoam options are many. If you must use single-use dishes, consider a biodegradable or compostable option.
8. Celebrate Gratitude
As with all things for this holiday, gratitude should be a the heart of it all. Showing gratefulness by choosing the best and healthiest options for your guests and the planet is one simple way of showing that you're thankful for what you've received.
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