Did you know household waste increases by an average of 25 percent during the holidays in the U.S.? Between Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day, Americans generate about a million more tons of food, plastic, and paper waste.
Start the holiday season off right by hosting a zero waste Thanksgiving celebration! Involved family and friends to create a new, clean tradition for this Thanksgiving and for future holidays. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Create a Menu Plan: Consider the number of guests and estimate a realistic amount of food you’ll need to serve. Not only will this prevent over shopping, but also minimize or even eliminate food waste.
2. Shop Local: Embrace nearby farmer’s markets and look for local produce and products in the supermarket. You’ll enjoy fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients, while supporting island farmers.
3. Choose Natural Décor: Minimalist decorations add a simple touch without breaking the bank or filling the trash, and they’re also on trend! Opt for baby pumpkins, seasonal flowers, and local plants and greenery to keep in the holiday spirit without contributing to consumer waste.
4. Ditch the Plastic: While single-use plastic place settings might make for easier cleanup, they can be wasteful and costly. The holidays are the perfect time to show off your fine china, silverware, and special occasion dishware and utensils.
5. Elevate Leftovers: Go beyond the usual turkey sandwiches with your leftover with new recipes. How about a turkey egg roll? Or a mashed potato pizza? Or cranberry-walnut oatmeal for breakfast the next day? Store leftovers in reusable containers, like resealable glass dishes or silicone bags, or cover them with beeswax wraps to keep items fresh instead using disposable plastic. Want more inspiration for your leftovers? Check out our Zero Waste Cooking article!
6. Environmentally-Safe Clean Up: Make your own natural cleaners with white vinegar and baking soda and use washable cloth rags to wipe down surfaces rather in place of paper towels. Check out our DIY Household Cleaning Agents article for more ideas on environmentally friendly cleaning ideas! Minimize food waste by composting peels, eggshells, and other leftovers and be sure to recycle containers and packaging. Don’t have a compost bin? Learn how to make one here with our DIY Compost Bin.