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10 Ways to Green Your Thanksgiving

Posted Nov 22 2009 12:00am

Thanksgiving is a holiday for giving thanks for family, friends, and good fortune. You can also give thanks and show your appreciation for the environment by having a “greener” Thanksgiving.   The tips below will help you give an eco-friendly twist to an age-old tradition.  Enjoy starting new environmentally friendly traditions this Thanksgiving!

1. Incorporate local food… and even go vegetarian

The typical meal in the United States travels about 1,500 before reaching our plate.  Therefore, you can reduce your carbon footprint by buying local meals.  Look here to find a market or farm nearby your home.  Also you can pledge to participate in a 100 mile diet this Thanksgiving where you eat only food from within a 100 mile radius of your house. You don’t have to eat meat this Thanksgiving – eating vegetarian puts less strain on resources.

2. Incorporate organic food

Your local area may not provide all the foods needed for the feast, so consider buying organic foods for the rest of the meal.  Organic farming uses humane methods for treating animals and no pesticides for fruits and vegetables.  These methods are usually more sustainable than traditional ones.

3. Choose less packaging

Packaging on food items can be bulky and quickly fill up your trash can.  Choose food that has less packaging and wrapping to reduce the waste you create.

4. Cook the turkey in a non-disposable roasting pan

Try not to cook the turkey in an aluminum disposable roasting pan. You can reduce your waste by using a non-disposable roasting pan.  Don’t own one?  Consider either investing in one or borrowing one from a relative or neighbor.

5. Use eco-friendly dinnerware

Bring out those cloth napkins and fancy china.  Thanksgiving dinner is a traditional fancy occasion so don’t use disposable plates and utensils.  Also, consider using cloth napkins instead of paper napkins to decrease your waste even further.

6. Create and/ or reuse decorations

Decorations add pizzazz to the table. You can reuse decorations from last year or create new organic ones.  A few suggestions on crafty and eco-friendly decorations can be found here.

7. Carbon offset your travel

Holiday travel can add up after a while, so consider choosing carbon offsets for all those travel miles.  Many different resources are available for offsetting.  A few include carbonfund.org, carbonoffsets.org, and terrapass.com.

8. Leftovers? Consider new ways to eat all the leftovers.

Eating all the leftover food can be tricky.  Don’t get tired of those turkey sandwiches! Find creative ways to cook and eat the leftovers here.

9. Leftovers? Compost scraps

For all those scraps leftover from the dinner, compost the scraps.  When trashed, these scraps take a long time to decompose. Putting the food scraps into a compost bin, allows them to turn into usable soil.

10. Go “green” during Black Friday

The Friday after Thanksgiving is a huge shopping day for many people. The most sustainable method is to avoid participating in Black Friday and buying new items. However, the deals can be hard to resist when holiday shopping is needed, so turn your shopping experience a little bit greener. Use those reusable shopping bags you often use for grocery shopping and reduce your collection of plastic bags.

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