Each year, life seems to get a little crazy during the holidays, especially around Thanksgiving when families from all over come together to eat, drink and give thanks. But with the holidays also comes a ton of waste because understandably, many of us prioritize convenience at the expense of the environment.
According to government data, Americans throw away roughly $165 billion in uneaten food every year. And about $277 million of that waste will occur during Thanksgiving. This staggering stat made us sit back and think about the ways in which we can reduce our waste this year.
To help us be a little more “green,” we’ve gathered a list of simple steps we can all take towards having a more environmentally friendly Thanksgiving.
1. Give Food to Shelters
It’s estimated that one in eight U.S. households are food insecure, so there’s no wonder why food banks across the country are gearing up to feed America’s hungry. A couple ways that you can help food banks prepare for drives include volunteering to cook and serve the food at shelters or providing them with non-perishable grocery items and reusable bags. Or perhaps you can find a way to donate financially. Either way, you can learn more about food drives from the local charities in your community.
2. Buy Local
Consider buying ingredients from your local farmer’s market for a more environmentally friendly Thanksgiving feast. Purchasing from your local market means you’re not only supporting your local economy and receiving sustainably grown food, but it also gives you a great excuse to bring out the reusable bags.
3. Use Reusable Everything!
From tableware to cookware and serving dishes, make sure everything you use on Thanksgiving is reusable. This simple step will not only save you money in the long run but also eliminate disposable containers from ending up in our landfills.
4. Compost Your Leftovers
Most of the leftovers can be sent home with friends or family or used to make yummy meals for the days that follow, but for the half-eaten plates or any other leftovers, consider composting them. If you don’t have your own compost bin, try making one, otherwise, your city or neighborhood may have a communal compost option you can use.
5. Gobble Less Gas
AAA projects that 48.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this year – that’s 1 million more people traveling this Thanksgiving compared with last year. If you’re traveling for the holidays, consider environmentally friendly options like using public transportation or carpooling. If you don’t have an electric car, look into renting one. And if absolutely have no choice but to fly, try carbon offsetting.
Do You Have Any Environmentally Friendly Thanksgiving Tips?
Do you have any simple steps you can share for a more environmentally friendly Thanksgiving? If so, please share your tips in the comments section below.