The holiday season is upon us and with it comes a lot of good food, good drink, good cheer and, unfortunately, often a lot of waste. Especially when considering food and packaging, the amount of waste a household produces greatly increases during the holidays.
Think about it – during Thanksgiving for instance, you tend to buy more groceries than normal to prepare your family’s feast and with those groceries comes more food scraps or wasted leftovers, plus a ton of packaging from all the bags, jars, cans and boxes your food and ingredients come in.
For those who don’t want to give up celebrating or their green values, there are plenty of simple ways to have a more eco-friendly Thanksgiving!
1. Be reasonable with your menu and shopping list
Yes, Thanksgiving is a time for feast with friends and family, but consider how much people are really going to eat (or should eat) before buying extra produce and ingredients you’ll end up not needing.
2. Choose locally grown or organic foods when possible
When you purchase locally grown foods you’re cutting down on carbon emissions, as the food doesn’t need to travel far. When you purchase organic foods, on the other hand, they may not be locally grown but ensure that no harmful chemicals or pesticides were used during the farming process.
3. Take reusable bags to the market or grocery store
Instead of walking out of the store with numerous plastic grocery bags filled to the brim, remember to take your own reusable bags in with you. Extra points if you use reusable cloth or woven produce bags as well!
4. Purchase products in recyclable packaging
When grocery shopping, go for goods in cardboard or recyclable plastic boxes, glass jars and bottles, and aluminum tins or cans to help cut down on the amount of trash you’ll throw away from packaging.
5. Rethink your turkey for an eco-friendly thanksgiving
Instead of simply finding the cheapest price per pound, look into choosing an organic, pasture-raised turkey that was bred in a more sustainable and ethical way.
6. Go vegetarian or vegan
For an extra eco-friendly twist, try serving an entirely vegetarian meal. More resources, particularly water, go into raising animals than growing plants, so by focusing on vegetarian dishes you’re reducing the resources used to create your meal.
7. Compost your food scraps
Any fruit and vegetable scraps (think the odds an end of vegetables that get chopped off and don’t making it into your salad or stuffing) along with egg shells and coffee grounds can go into the compost bin to break down naturally and enrich the soil – don’t just throw them in the rubbish!
8. Store leftovers safely
Instead of using plastic containers or disposable plastic wrap, try using glass containers and reusable wax wraps instead. As we’ve talked about before, storing your food in plastic can have some harmful side effects while using plastic wrap is just wasteful since it gets thrown in the rubbish bin after one use! SuperBee Wax Wraps are sustainable products that are safe to use around your food and long lasting – one of our beeswax wraps can be used again and again for one whole year!
9. Recycle, recycle, recycle
Make sure that at the end of the day all that recyclable food packaging actually makes it into the recycle bin along with any other bottles and can used during the meal.
10. Make natural decorations
Instead of buying decorations, just head outside and see what kind of greenery and objects from nature you can style in your table centrepiece. You can also have your kids try their hand at making paper decorations that can then be reused or recycled.
11. Use real plates and silverware
Real dishes, silverware and cloth napkins not only look and feel nicer than their plastic counterparts but help cut down on waste at the end of the meal. If you are hosting an large gathering and can’t supply real dishes and silverware, make sure to at least choose biodegradable disposable plates to help limit the waste created.
12. Celebrate at home
Thanksgiving is a time to be spent with family, but flying or driving long distances racks up costs and your carbon emissions. Celebrating close to home will save you time, stress and money while being greener for the environment.
What other eco-friendly Thanksgiving tips or traditions do you practise in your home?