If you’ve read our blog before, you know that it’s possible to make any holiday green, and in most cases, it only requires a bit of extra effort. All of that remains true for Thanksgiving, a holiday that’s surprisingly wasteful. Each Thanksgiving, over 100 pounds of food per person goes to waste.
To make Thanksgiving green, the focus has to be on reducing this insane amount of waste. If 100 pounds of wasted food didn’t already sound shocking, it should also be mentioned that Thanksgiving is the start of our most wasteful time of year. According to RecycleWorks, household waste increases by 25 percent from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.
So with that, let’s take a look at ways to cut down on Thanksgiving’s holiday waste.
The easiest way to reduce Thanksgiving waste is to only buy what you’ll reasonably need. To take it a step further, it’s good to buy local items whenever possible, which can be done by shopping at a farmers market. If there’s no farmers market in your area, visit a grocery store with organic items and buy sustainably produced food. The average U.S. household spends $49.48 on Thanksgiving, but that amount will be higher if you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner as opposed to attending at a relative’s house. Buying only what you need is a good way to go green and save money.
Clean without the chemicals
For Thanksgivings hosts, the most stressful part of the holiday might be cleaning every corner of the house before guests arrive, especially if you have that one relative who’ll notice that missed speck of dust on the table. Instead of using toxic cleaning products, use vinegar to clean surfaces and mirrors and baking soda and water to scrub sinks and tubs. Check out Eartheasy for other nontoxic cleaning ideas and solutions.
Decorate with recyclable flair
This is the fun part. Earth911 has compiled a nice guide of Thanksgiving décor made from brown paper bags, plastic spoons and cloves. A store-bought centerpiece might look great for the few hours it sits on the table, but after that it’s just another thing to toss in the trash – and not to mention an expensive thing. Items like old T-shirts and fabric scraps can be used to make wreaths and garland, which earns you an “A” for textile recycling and creative decorating.
Thanksgiving is a day to appreciate family and be thankful for what we have, not to irresponsibly overdo it and create tons of waste. This Thanksgiving, buy within your means and don’t turn Thanksgiving into Trashgiving—make it green.