How to Have an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, the one time of year family, and friends, gather around a table, enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal, and reflect on what they are thankful for. We have a lot of things to be thankful for, especially this year. 

One of those is having a planet to call home, but as you may know already, we may lose this privilege extremely soon if we don’t do anything. In fact, the Thanksgiving season is quite notorious for negatively contributing to the environment, as “the carbon footprint of a 16-pound turkey creates a total of 34.2 pounds of [carbon dioxide] — the same amount produced by turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, rolled biscuits and apple pie combined,” as concluded by research done by the Carnegie Mellon University. And, to add to that, the National Turkey Federation says that about 46 million turkeys are consumed each year on Thanksgiving, which adds up to a LOT of greenhouse gases in our precious atmosphere.

If you’re looking to combat this gigantic problem, but aren’t sure what to do without entirely abandoning the holiday celebrations, don’t worry, because It’s really the little things that add up for a greater cause, so without further ado, here are some ways you can enjoy an eco-friendly Thanksgiving.

  1. Dishes

This one’s pretty obvious. Instead of using single-use dishes and utensils made of plastic or styrofoam, opt for multiple-use ones instead, like those made of glass or porcelain. This way, you reduce the amount of waste produced from your meal. Did you know that according to Market Watch, during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and the New Year, 25% more trash is generated?

If your first thought after reading this was, “Oh, that means more dishes to wash…” or “That’s a waste of water!”, then try to reduce the amount of dishes you use, or reuse them. That way, you cut down on the amount of single-use dishes used while saving important resources; it’s a win-win!

  1.  Compost

There will likely be many leftovers and scraps from your Thanksgiving meal. Instead of throwing them out to contribute to the global waste problem, consider composting them instead so they can benefit plants. You can even treat it as a fun family activity to do the next day! To read more about composting, check out my post about it here.

  1. Repurpose

If composting seems too hard to do, try repurposing your food scraps into your meals. I’m sure there are plenty of delicious recipes that use Thanksgiving leftovers! Just do make sure to minimize the amount of food you throw out, especially because according to Market Watch, “on Thanksgiving day alone, 200 million pounds of turkey, 150 million pounds of sides and 14 million pounds of dinner rolls are estimated to go to waste nationwide.” That’s a lot!

  1. Ingredients

This year (and in following years, if you can), try to buy locally-grown ingredients for your Thanksgiving meal. This helps support your local farmers, while reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted through transportation of the food. Locally-grown food has also even been said to taste better and bring out the flavors of a region!

  1. Buying

This is also another obvious one, but if you find yourself using a particular ingredient a lot, consider buying it in bulk to reduce packaging waste. Also, when you’re buying supplies, try to make a list of everything you need in advance to avoid last-minute rushes and the use of extra shopping bags. Even better though, bring your own reusable shopping bags! This will again reduce plastic waste from the shopping bags commonly found in supermarkets, and plus, reusable ones are accepted (and even sold!) in many grocery stores and supermarkets. As a side note, while tempting it may be, try to avoid buying things that aren’t on your shopping list to reduce food waste.

That’s it for my list of tips for a more eco-friendly Thanksgiving! If you’re looking for even more tips (good for you!), check out this website. Have a happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate!

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