Thanksgiving is a time to gather with the people you care about, be thankful for the time you share with them, and of course, to stuff yourself to the brim. Unfortunately, with the great excess of Thanksgiving comes a great deal of waste and pollution. Just think of all the food, paper plates, and napkins that end up in landfills each year. Then think of all the pollution produced by each person driving to the event separately. This happens all over the nation every single year and creates a great deal of unnecessary negative by-product.
Don’t cancel your plans, just yet, though. There’s plenty of steps you can take to do your part and make your green Thanksgiving a day to remember.
Don’t use paper plates, napkins, or plastic utensils.
These convenience items are tempting, but just think of all the waste they create. Take this as an opportunity to break out your fine china for the whole family to enjoy. Don’t have fine China? Ask a family member or check out Craigslist for some great deals. See, you’re reusing already!
Buy Local Produce
Buying local means sparing tons of carbon emissions that would have been spent delivering your produce to the local grocery store. Check out local farmer’s markets for fresh, local produce. It tastes better coming directly from the farm anyways.
Going with the organic stuff means sparing the environment from the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals. Ask around at your farmer’s market or look for the organic section at your grocery store.
Look for Recycled Containers
When purchasing the ingredients for your big feast, look for packaging that is post-consumer recycled and that which can be easily recycled again. Many products make this a point of pride, so it shouldn’t be hard to find the right product.
Buy a “Green” Turkey
No, not literally (gross). Look for a turkey that is grown locally and organic. Resist the temptation to buy the bargain bird at your grocery store. There’s no telling what kind of conditions it was raised in. Instead, look for a turkey that was “pastured”, or raised in a grassy field. You know, where turkeys are supposed to be raised.
Use a Reusable Turkey Pan
Those flimsy aluminum turkey pans are popular based on their convenience, but they also have to be discarded after using them a couple times. You probably already have a pan that will work just fine, and the extra time to clean it won’t kill you. As an alternative, you could purchase a roaster that will be deep enough for a turkey and be reusable year-round.
Compost, Compost, Compost
If you don’t already have a compost heap, this is the perfect time to start one. All the fruit and vegetable scraps left over from Thanksgiving can be composted, and will be ready just in time to fertilize your spring garden. Now that’s efficient.
Recycle Your Frying Oil
Deep frying that turkey is a widely growing phenomenon. If your family partakes, take the time to look around your area for a bio-diesel manufacturer that can recycle your used oil. They’ll turn it into fuel which will reduce carbon emissions, and you won’t have the headache of figuring out what to do with a huge tub of used oil.
Set Up a Carpool
Your whole family is going to the same place for Thanksgiving. So why should you all drive separately? You can decrease carbon emissions exponentially by setting up a carpool to get all your guests to their destination. Ideally, choose someone with the most seats to drive, reducing the amount of cars. Your neighbors will thank you.
Modern dishwashers are efficient and productive. You don’t need to rinse off every plate before it goes in (that’s the dishwasher’s singular purpose). Scrape off the big stuff and the sticky stuff and load it. Many dishwashers also offer an efficiency setting, and as an extra bonus you can let the dishes air dry overnight.