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7 Tips to a Green Thanksgiving

Pooh and Piglet ThanksgivingThanksgiving can be a particularly gluttonous holiday, but there are some steps you can take to making it more green. From preparation to to cleaning up after your meal, everything you do for Thanksgiving can be made greener if you try.

  1. Plan your meal ahead of time
    Know how many people you will be serving on Thanksgiving. This will help you purchase your food without buying too much, which will reduce the amount of waste you have after the meal.
  2. Keep decorations minimal
    Try creating a beautiful party space with edible items and/or decorations found in nature. Your turkey can be your centerpiece, and for a splash of color, add some bowls filled with cranberries. The kids can create popcorn garlands that they can snack on later, and fresh-cut greens or fallen leaves from outside can be made into beautiful decorations for the rest of your home.
  3. Buy local and organic
    From the main course to your wine or apple cider, try purchasing your food items locally and organically. If you are having a real turkey, purchase one from a local farm (check LocalHarvest). Less transportation = less emissions, and you will be helping to support your local economy. Purchase your side items locally, too, whether from your local farm or from a farmer’s market or co-op.

    If you are going vegetarian this Thanksgiving, consider tofurky or turk’y roast, which is soy free.

  4. Skip the disposable tableware
    I know it’s tempting, especially if you are serving a large group of people. It’s important, though, to skip the disposable plates, napkins, forks, etc. Using your regular dishes and cloth napkins will save you money and trash. If you insist on not washing dishes at the end of the day, use compostable dinnerware.
  5. Properly store your leftovers
    You took all these steps to have a more green Thanksgiving, but if you put your leftovers in the fridge covered in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, your green Thanksgiving just became a little less green! Store your leftovers in washable, reusable containers, or in the dishes you cooked them in, when possible, with lids on them. Compost leftovers that you can’t save.
  6. Recycle
    Recycle anything you can. If your drinks came from plastic soda bottles, glass wine bottles, or aluminum cans, recycle them. If any of your meal came from recyclable packaging, recycle them. Remember that paper napkins and paper towels cannot be recycled (another good reason to use cloth napkins!).
  7. Clean up with green cleaners
    Save it for the next day, if you want, but make sure that when you clean up from your meal, you don’t ruin your air quality and risk your health with chemical-laden cleaners. I recommend TerraCycle’s All Purpose Cleaner, which can be purchased at a number of stores including Targat, OfficeMax and more.

Overall, it’s most important to remember that Thanksgiving is about spending time with family and being thankful for what you have. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the day make you forget your loved ones, and save some apple cider for me!

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