Overstuffed plates full of mishmash sides and sweet potato pies are a defining part of Thanksgiving. And hey, we love a good veggie casserole as much as the rest!
But with so much food comes so much waste.
In the U.S., six million turkeys ended up in the trash in 2016, according to Natural Resources Defense Council. That means, animals were not only harmed to be thrown away, but 100 billion gallons of water were also completely wasted (beyond heartbreaking). And studies show Americans toss 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of the year.
We can’t change everyone’s habits, but we can change our own! So, keep these tips in mind to celebrate the holiday with love — towards you, your family, and the planet.
Follow these 12 tips to have a more eco-friendly Thanksgiving
Prepare plant-based dishes
Simply swapping a few meat-dishes with plant-based meals can make a huge difference! Offer to make a yummy easy vegan Alfredo or bake vegan cinnamon rolls. Even if you’re the only vegan at the table, you can introduce some amazingly tasty dishes to your family and friends.
By using more local produce to prepare dishes, you’ll not only support your local community, but you’ll also be helping the planet.
Local food doesn’t require as much transportation, storage, and packaging as food from bigger chains. And it usually tastes a whole lot fresher than food from bigger markets.
Say no to plastic and use the real deal — aka real plates, utensils, and glasses. Sure, you’ll have to wash more dishes that way, but turn up the holiday tunes and make it fun! The turtles will thank you.
Bring nature inside your home
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T A B L E S C A P E I worked on a simple table setting for the holidays today. I am totally feeling like less is more- maybe because I’m a little behind but also because I dig simplicity ❤️ What are you having for Christmas dinner? . . #christmastablesetting #pineconedecor #buffaloplaid #tablescapes #simpledecor #hobbylobbyfarmhouse #hobbylobbychristmas #howiholidayhome #goldbells
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Instead of buying single-use decorations that you’ll use once and then throw away, embrace pinecones, acorns, and leaves as centerpieces and table settings. They look pretty and add an eco-friendly flair to any room.
Looking for more eco-friendly decoration inspiration? Check out this post for our 12 favorite planet-friendly holiday decorations!
Avoid making more food than you need
Resist making enough food for 50 for a table set for five. Be honest with yourself about how much food is actually needed rather than making every dish that looks amazing on Pinterest.
Use real napkins
Investing in linen napkins is an easy way to show the planet you care.
Tip: napkins in darker colors are better at hiding food stains!
Remember reusable bags/produce bags
Chances are you’ll be going to the grocery store at some point (or many points) to get ready for Thanksgiving. Don’t forget your reusable bags like our “Small Acts Multiplied By Millions Can Transform This World” tote!
Make it easy on yourself and put reusable bags in handy places like your trunk, purse pocket, or entryway hook.
Store leftovers with love
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So, for those of you who tuned into my insta stories last night would know that the weekend is my cleaning/organising time to set up for the week ahead. I am flat out at work this week with conferences and proposal deadlines, so there will no doubt be some late nights, and on top of that; we've invited friends over for dinner for two seperate nights this week, so that's a lot of dinner/dessert planning. I definitely have to give myself a pat on the back for meal prepping and planning yesterday. So much food, I officially used every single @decoraustralia container I own. These new round ones are my fave coz I can prep salads and dips directly in them, and then serve them in the same bowl. Not to mention they keep everything nice and fresh for days 🤗🤗 The thermoglass ones can go straight from fridge/freezer to oven, so I marinate any meats we are serving and it doubles as the pan 👍👍👍 #DecorAustralia #fridgeorganisation #mealprep #mealplanning #organisedfridge #weeklyorganisation #homeorganisation #sp #organizer #homeorganizer #homeorganisation #fridgeorganization #colourfulfridge #containers #glasscontainers
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Clear glass containers are great investments for leftovers. You’ll be able to see what’s inside, which will make it less likely for food to get forgotten in your fridge.
Also, don’t underestimate your freezer! Freezing food will extend the lifespan of dishes, so you can take a break from leftovers and still enjoy them later.
Host a leftover party
Got lots of food sitting in your fridge? Throw a leftovers party! You’ll hang out with loved ones and relieve the landfills — everyone wins.
Start a new tradition and make a trip to a local homeless shelter or community organization the day after Thanksgiving. Google makes it SO easy to find places that will appreciate your leftovers.
Take advantage of dishwashers
Rely on your dishwasher to do its job! The process of using hands to manually clean dishes uses much more water than dishwashers require. Of course, if you don’t have a dishwater — things change. We recommend filling the sink with hot water and soap, and then scrubbing.
Minimize travel (in ways you can)
Whether you’re traveling across the country or down the street, do what you can to minimize your holiday transportation. Maybe that means investing in a non-stop flight when you can or finding ways to carpool. Even little tweaks add up over time.
Can’t get enough of the holidays? Neither can we! Read these for more holiday inspiration:
- All the warm vegan drinks you need to try this winter
- The best ways to prevent waste during the holiday season
- The best vegan versions of all your fave holiday treats