Thanksgiving, a time to gather with friends and family and express gratitude for all that we have. But we also need to be conscious of the current state of the planet and how climate change is affecting the world. So, this holiday season, let’s show Mother Earth our appreciation by reducing our carbon footprint with a few simple tweaks to make your Thanksgiving eco-friendly.
When it comes to fall décor, opt for the real thing rather than cheap imported decorations. Use nature, go into your backyard, and gather pinecones, leaves, flowers, and anything else that gets your creative juices flowing. Use items from around the house, watering cans, metal buckets, planters, even wooden boxes. When setting the Thanksgiving table, I use small pumpkins as part of my centerpiece along with glass candle holders that I fill with either colorful leaves, acorns, cranberries, or pinecones.
Use real dishes, silverware and linen napkins rather than disposable ones. A tremendous number of natural resources are used in the production of disposable tableware as well as cotton napkins. If you must use disposable plates, napkins and utensils, opt for 100% recycled or compostable materials.
Purchase your fresh produce from the local farmer’s market. Not only will it retain the full nutrient potential because it was harvested at its peak and is fresh, but it will also taste better. When you buy locally, the produce has not traveled far thereby reducing greenhouse gases. Not to mention, you are investing in your own community. Don’t forget to take your own reusable bags.
Pastured Raised Turkey
If you can afford it, opt for a pasture-raised turkey. Not only are they free from preservatives, antibiotics, hormones and other harmful ingredients, but they are also raised in open pastures rather than in cages or confined within a building. Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Markets have some good options.
The type of baking dishes you use can have a substantial impact on energy use. Glass and ceramic dishes retain heat better than metal allowing you to turn down the heat by approximately 25 degrees. Use your dishwasher for everything that is deemed dishwasher safe. Dishwashers utilize less water than hand-washing dishes.
Use glass containers and reusable beeswax wrap instead of plastic containers and disposable plastic wrap. Glass jars also work wonderfully well to store leftovers in. Have guests bring containers to take leftovers home if possible.
Recycle and Repurpose
According to the EPA, approximately 94% of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. By repurposing and composting your kitchen scraps you can reduce methane emissions as well as your carbon footprint!
Don’t toss those vegetable scraps, repurpose them. The trimmings can be used to make healthy and tasty vegetable stock. Put the skins and any other remaining vegetable scraps into your compost pile. Come spring, your garden will thank you. Here is a link for instructions on composting.
Herb stems can be used to infuse oils or vinegar.
Use that turkey carcass to make bone broth for soups, stews and gravy.
Recycle any cans or glass jars. Aluminum trays used for baking can also be recycled. Just be sure to thoroughly clean them first.
Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather and to reflect on our blessings and show gratitude. This year let us also pay homage to the planet by reducing our carbon footprint. Together, we can make a difference.
Happy Thanksgiving. Be Safe, Be Happy and Be Sustainable!