As we approach Thanksgiving, it is important to remember that the holiday season, while joyful, often results in a significant increase in household waste. According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, about 200 million pounds of turkey are thrown out over the Thanksgiving holiday week. This year, let’s break the cycle and aim to host a low-waste Thanksgiving celebration. By making mindful choices, we can create new traditions that benefit both our environment and our communities.
These new traditions can be fun for the family – make your trip to the farmer’s market a fun family outing – while also preventing excess waste. Here are a few tips to get you started on your eco-friendly Thanksgiving journey:
- Reduce Meat Consumption: Consider incorporating more plant-based dishes into your Thanksgiving feast. Reducing meat consumption is an effective way to lower your environmental impact, as the meat industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Support Local Farmers: Visit your local farmers’ markets and independent grocers to source fresh, locally-grown produce. This not only reduces the amount of fuel, time and money required to ship food, but also supports small-scale, sustainable agriculture in your community.
- Mindful Menu Planning: Start by planning a menu that emphasizes seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting food long distances.
- Eco-Friendly Decorations & Table Settings: Embrace natural and sustainable decorations such as seasonal flowers, reusable tableware and cloth napkins. Avoid disposable, single-use decorations and table settings that contribute to landfill waste.
- Thoughtful Leftovers: Plan for creative ways to use leftovers. Transform turkey into sandwiches, salads, or a comforting jook, and repurpose side dishes into new meals. Store leftovers in reusable containers or beeswax wraps to reduce reliance on plastics wrap and disposable containers.
- Eco-Conscious Cleanup: Use eco-friendly cleaning products made from natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. Ditch paper towels and instead use washable cloth rags for cleaning. Compost food scraps and leftovers to divert organic waste from landfills. If you don’t already have a compost bin, consider starting one.
This Thanksgiving, let’s celebrate not only our family and friends, but also our planet. By adopting eco-friendly practices, we can reduce waste, support local communities, and show our appreciation for the environment that sustains us by working together towards a Trash Free Hawaii.