Tips for a Green Thanksgiving

 In Environmental Education

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season here in the US. Unfortunately, it also marks a drastic increase in food and packaging waste. Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, Americans throw away 25% more trash. This extra waste equals about 25 million tons of garbage. On Thanksgiving alone, about $293 million worth of food is wasted in the US.

Food waste is costly, not only for us, but also for the environment. When you throw food or other organic material away, it enters the waste stream and winds up in a landfill. At the landfill, it’s buried, begins to decompose anaerobically, and emits methane- a 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.

  • Bring a large assortment of reusable shopping bags with you to the store- smaller bags for bulk items and produce and larger bags for groceries.
  • Purchase items that come with less packaging and try to avoid buying pre-packaged produce.
  • Buy from bulk bins if possible.
  • Support local farmers by buying ingredients sourced close to home. Shopping locally also helps cut down on transportation-related emissions.
  • Practice stem to root cooking- use as much of your vegetables as you can.
  • Have a lot of leftover fresh herbs? Cover them with olive oil and freeze in ice cube trays for future use.
  • Avoid plastic or styrofoam and use real utensils, plates, and cups. Cloth napkins look beautiful and can be washed and reused.
  • Have your guests and family members bring their own take away containers, so you feed them and not the landfill.
  • Practice zero waste kitchen rules. Freeze leftovers instead of throwing them out so you can feast again in a couple of weeks. Compost food scraps.  If you don’t have a compost pile or worm bin, creating one could be a fun project for the long weekend. Worm bins are especially easy and transform your food scraps into a nutrient rich soil amendment.

We wish you and yours a fabulous Thanksgiving!

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