5 Tips For A Sustainable Thanksgiving

 In Environmental Education, Explore Ecology

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season here in the US. Unfortunately, it also marks an increase in food and packaging waste. Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, Americans waste over 5 million tons of food. On Thanksgiving alone, we waste a whopping $293 million worth of food.

This wasted food is not only costly to us, it’s also costly to nature. When you throw food or other organic material away, it enters the waste stream and eventually winds up in a landfill. At the landfill, it’s buried, begins to decompose anaerobically (without oxygen), and emits methane, a major greenhouse gas and contributor to climate change.

How can we ensure that we have an abundant, satisfying, and less wasteful Thanksgiving? Here are some tips to help you celebrate the season and take care of the planet.

  • When shopping, look for items with less packaging. Avoid buying pre-packaged produce if possible.
  • Support your local farmers by buying ingredients sourced close to home. Shopping locally also helps cut down on transportation-related emissions.
  • Avoid disposable utensils. If you must use them, be sure to get compostable dinner ware. Note: these can be composted in a commercial composting facility- composting them at home can be difficult.
  • Have your guests and family members bring their own take away containers, so they get the leftovers, not the landfill.
  • Compost your food scraps instead of throwing them out. If you don’t have a compost pile or worm bin, creating one could be a fun family project for the long weekend. Worm bins are especially easy and transform your food scraps into a nutrient rich soil amendment.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Explore Ecology!

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