As you know, we are big advocates of simplicity and sustainability — at the holidays and all year round. We are always trying to find ways to bring sustainability into our daily habits and practices – and that’s why we like these tips with simple things we can remember as we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow.
Carrying forth the energy and inspiration from EcoChallenge 2014 this Fall, we also encourage you to integrate EcoChallenge actions into your festivities: conserve water and energy where possible, choose sustainable food options, reduce your waste – and consider ways to give back to your community. For the full article on how to have a green Thanksgiving, click here.
It may be too late for a full green overhaul of your Thanksgiving plans, but there are subtle ways you can “green” your Thanksgiving holiday. They may seem like small gestures, but with millions of people celebrating, if we all make a few changes we can really show the Earth our thanks.
- Remember Your Reusable Bags! You hear it all the time. What you don’t hear is that you don’t have to buy a bunch of Whole Foods logo recycled bags to be green on your grocery trip. Look in your closet. You have that tote they gave away at last year’s convention. Or your kid’s beach basket that you retired for the winter. Use whatever you have at the house. Anything is better than a plastic bag. And repurposing something you already own is greener than buying a reusable bag anyway.
- Avoid Superfluous Food Packaging. When choosing between the lettuce in the plastic container and the loose leaf, take the extra minute to gather the loose leaf. Don’t pick the single cucumber in seran wrap. Get rice and nuts from the bulk bins — and again — bring your own bag to scoop it in.
- Don’t Use Paper or Plastic Cutlery, Even if its a Big Crowd. Soiled products like paper plates and napkins are typically not recyclable. Styrofoam is not only not recyclable but also often leaches toxic chemicals into your food when exposed to heat (like from a hot slice of turkey). Use cloth napkins, and if you don’t own enough plates, buy bamboo plates and cutlery for the event and save them for the next party. Get cheap mason jars at a hardware store to use as glasses and reuse them later.
- Think About Food Waste. Food waste is probably the biggest environmental tragedy that comes out of Thanksgiving. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates Americans throw away 40 percent of their food every year. Our Thanksgiving instincts are to plop as much grub in front of us as possible. But once that food hits your plate, any leftovers are likely ending up in the trash. Start with a small portion and get more as you need it. Added bonus: you’ll probably end up consuming fewer calories with this strategy too.
- Clean Green. Use rags instead of paper towels or even sponges. Hang dry linens after washing them. Turn the water off every time you stop to add soap to dishes. Choose environmentally-friendly cleaning products from the Environmental Working Group’s database of human and environment-safe cleaners (you’ll be surprised which make the cut and which don’t.)
And a bonus sixth tip for living lighter on the planet this week:
- Skip Black Friday! Go on a hike on Friday. Read a book. Play a board game. Or, repair something you otherwise planned to replace!
For more tips, click here. We wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!