With the holiday season in full swing, it’s time to prepare for the celebration synonymous with travel, shopping and lots and lots of food: Thanksgiving.
While some people dread preparing a large feast and dealing with the leftovers, others are finding new ways to minimize food waste, spend less and make the holiday more about spending time with the ones they love. Here are some tips to throw an awesome Thanksgiving roast while saving money and reducing environmental impact. After all, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and who doesn’t appreciate eco-friendly savings around the holidays?
Use reusable dinnerware
Sometimes cooking isn’t the biggest headache that comes with preparing a big dinner, but cleaning the glassware afterwards can be. However, using disposable plates, cups and plastic utensils to save time on cleanup creates a lot of waste. If you’re fortunate enough to have a dishwasher, that will significantly cut down on time spent cleaning; but even if you don’t, you may want to ask guests to help wash the dishes. This can be a great time to chat and catch up on life while creating an assembly line for washing, drying and putting away the fancy plates. If you don’t have enough dinnerware for the whole party, consider buying plates and utensils made out of 100% recycled material like this Disposable Wooden Cutlery set from Amazon. This set is compostable and even comes in a recycled carton package.
Shop local and organic items
Aside from supporting the local economy, when you shop local and organic food you also positively impact the environment. Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are typically free of chemical pesticides fertilizers. Organic meats are grown without antibiotics and artificial hormones, which is good news for your health. When you buy organic you also support sustainable farming which reduces pollution, conserves water and increases soil fertility. This is a cost-effective choice for farmers and helps keep the air cleaner.
Make your own decorations
This time of year is as beautiful as it is practical for creating your own décor for guests. If you still have leftover pumpkins from Halloween, you can carve them out and put a cute floral arrangement inside (and save the insides to make a delicious pumpkin pie). If you enjoy the outdoors, go outside to your yard or a local park and scoop up some acorns or pine cones and fill a vase with them. You can throw in a few autumn-colored leaves to give them a pop of color, too. Even a few small branches with flowers can look beautiful in a napkin wrapped around utensils to give guests a festive feel without having to buy anything.
Cook just enough (but prepare for leftovers)
One of the biggest environmental issues with Thanksgiving is the sheer amount of food waste that comes with it. Aside from the massive turkeys that are grown just for this holiday, ample side dishes and desserts lead to a lot of wasteful leftovers. If you are planning for a small gathering, skip the large turkey and opt for roasting smaller organic meat like chicken that can be seasoned to provide a savory alternative. For sides, consider any one of these delicious organic vegetable recipes, like fresh spinach and artichoke dip or an herbed bread and veggie stuffing. If you have the whole family attending Thanksgiving, request that they bring reusable Tupperware so that you can prevent unnecessary food waste.
When possible, carpool or use public transit
Sometimes flying cross-country is the only option to get to your Thanksgiving destination. But having or attending a Friendsgiving has become more and more popular as people opt to spend time with their local buddies instead. Whether it’s a family or friend event, you may want to carpool or use public transit to reduce carbon emissions and save money. If biking or walking is an option, you can also get a workout in before stuffing your face with all the great food at your final destination.
Lastly, recycle and compost whatever you can!
After a day filled with food and beverages, you will undoubtedly have plenty to throw out before the night is over. Prior to your guests arriving, be sure to set up a trash station that has a place for regular trash, recyclable items and compostable items. Glass wine and beer bottles can be recycled and if you’ve opted for eco-friendly flatware, you can recycle those, too. Before you think about throwing out your kitchen scraps, add them to your compost bin as most fruits and vegetables are compostable and can be used to fertilize land. Sending these scraps to the landfill just adds to greenhouse gas emissions like methane, which is more toxic than carbon dioxide. Make sure to add the meat and bones to your regular trash. Having these three trash stations ready to go will make it easy for you and your guests to be as eco-friendly as possible when cleaning up after the festivities.
Each of these steps might seem small but can make big contributions to a greener Thanksgiving that will help you be grateful for family, friends and the environment. Check out more articles on Liberty Power’s blog for more information about green energy solutions for your home or business and enjoy your holiday season!
Article Credit: Elena Schmidt