By Emmeline Ensign
Thanksgiving is a great holiday—its all about giving thanks and spending time with friends, family, and, of course, delicious food! It’s the beginning of the winter holiday season. However, during this holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years, Americans produce 25% more waste. That’s 25 million tons of trash!
If you want to have a more environmentally sustainable holiday season, start with these 5 easy ways to make your Thanksgiving greener:
1. Bring out the Classy dishes and napkins
Not only do cloth napkins and real plates look fancy and festive, they are much better for the environment. This can also be applied to the clean up after dinner. Instead of wiping up spilled cranberry sauce with a paper towel, use a wet rag that can be washed.
2. Cook with Organic foods
Locally grown organic foods are much better for the environment. The farming of organic foods produces less carbon emissions.
If you do cook anything from a can, be sure to recycle the can. Not only will this destroy the evidence so that you can say you made the dish from scratch, but recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours!
3. Compost leftovers
When the food looks so good sometimes your eyes get bigger than your stomach and you end up food left on your plate that you just can’t eat. Instead of scraping your scraps into a trash can, scrape them into a compost bin.
*Setting your plate on the ground for your dog to lick clean is also an environmentally friendly option!
4. Use Reusable Tupperware
After the big meal is over, there are often lots of leftovers. You may be eating turkey sandwiches for a week! But, an enormous amount of waste is created by plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or plastic bags that are thrown away later. Instead, take home or store your leftovers in washable Tupperware containers.
5. Spread the word
As much as you may want to have a completely environmentally sustainable Thanksgiving—it isn’t always completely in your control. Maybe, you aren’t the one putting together the Thanksgiving festivities or preparing the meal. It would be a little awkward to tell Aunt Sally that you wish the green beans in the casserole she slaved over were organic.
But, there’s still a lot you can do to help the cause of sustainability. All of you family and friends are gathered together in one place for food and conversation. Take this opportunity to tell them a few things you know about sustainability and the environment. Drop some knowledge that will hopefully inspire your relatives into making some changes for Christmas celebrations!
Immediately after Thanksgiving the next big thing is Black Friday shopping. There are some crazy good deals. But, if you want to continue your support of sustainability after Thanksgiving, spend your money on brands that are environmentally conscious.
Emmeline Ensign is a freshmen studying marketing and international business and joined Net Impact this fall. This is her first post as a member of the Net Impact Blogging Team.