Let the countdown begin! For me, the official holiday season kicks off next Thursday with Thanksgiving. In our family it is the official start of holiday decorations, Christmas carols, yummy food, family time, shopping and gift giving. But along with feel-good traditions comes a lot of opportunities for waste – packaging/wrappers, food leftovers, shopping bags, decorations – you name it! In fact during the holidays waste goes up by more than 25 percent! That definitely doesn’t make us feel jolly. But there is still hope for saving the holidays.
Follow these simple Thanksgiving Day tips to lighten the impact of your Turkey Day celebration and get the holiday season off to a great, green start!
- Perfect Portions – We know it’s tempting, but there’s really no need to overcook. The official party planning rule of thumb is to have a TOTAL of one pound of food for each guest during the main course. Desserts not included. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Americans throw out about 25 percent of the food they purchase. Uneaten food ends up in landfills to the tune of about 36 million tons per year where it then releases a large amount of methane into the air. So trim down food waste, landfill space and air pollution by simply cooking what you’ll actually eat for Thanksgiving.
- Put Your Bin on Display – Make it easy for your guests to recycle. Place a clearly marked recycling container next to the trash can to capture aluminum cans, wine bottles, plastic soda bottles and other recyclable waste.
- Ditch Disposal Cookware – Those flimsy aluminum trays may be great for cooking for your large family – but they are awfully wasteful! If your family depends on you to play holiday host/hostess, invest in good quality baking pans that can be reused each holiday. Short on cash? Check out a local secondhand store to find affordable ceramic and glass baking dishes.
- Can the Grease – Pass the gravy but please keep it out of the drains! You will NOT be thankful for a clogged up drain in the middle of your Thanksgiving celebration. Cooled fats, oils, and grease belong in the trash can while food scraps can go in the trash or a compost bin. Frying a turkey? Find out where to recycle your oil – but never put it down the sink or stormwater drain.
- Reusable Table Settings – Plates, silverware, napkin, cups – all reusable! Sure, you’ll have to do the dishes after your feast. But is an hour of your time really comparable to the hundreds or thousands of years those disposables will spend decomposing in a landfill? I think not.
- Decorations Worth Keeping – Ok, so I’m not crafty but everyone needs super cool upcycled decorations in their life! Upcycled decorations reduce waste but also give you a decoration worth keeping around for years to come. Here are some simple ideas from the askHRgreen.org Pinterest page to get started.
Happy Turkey Day – Gobble, Gobble!