Thanksgiving is a special holiday, centered around gratitude and appreciation for everything we have, both tangible and intangible. It’s a time for families and friends to come together and share a feast. However, it’s also a time when food waste tends to increase dramatically.
Studies have shown that food waste surges by more than 25% during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This can be quite alarming, considering that over 305 million pounds of food, valued at more than $400 million, are expected to go to waste during Thanksgiving dinners this year.
But fear not, because we can make a difference! Here are some friendly and helpful tips to reduce waste during this food-centric holiday:
- Plan Your Dishes Mindfully: Be thoughtful in your recipe choices. For instance, if you’re roasting pumpkin seeds for a salad, consider using the pumpkin “meat” in a pumpkin pie or roasted squash dish. This way, you utilize all elements of the produce.
- Skip Single-Use Decorations: Instead of buying single-use name place cards and table decor, embrace the beauty of natural fall elements such as leaves and pinecones attached to decorated cardstock. These items can be composted or returned to nature after the meal, aligning with the Thanksgiving cornucopia theme.
- Choose Reusable Cutlery and Plates: While it may be tempting to go for disposable cutlery and dishes, investing in reusable ones is a more eco-friendly choice. The energy and water needed to wash reusable items are far outweighed by the waste generated by disposable products. If you’re hosting a large gathering and lack table settings, consider secondhand stores or asking guests to bring their own.
- Add More Plant-Based Options: The production of animal products typically has a larger environmental footprint compared to plant-based foods. Of course, you don’t need to go entirely meat-free, but by adding a few more vegetables and reducing some animal products on your holiday table can significantly cut down on waste and resource consumption.
- Sustainable After-Dinner Activities: While many love Black Friday shopping, there are some environmentally friendly post-Thanksgiving activities your family may enjoy. Spend time outdoors, play games, or engage in community service, such as a trash clean-up event. It’s a wonderful way to appreciate what you have while contributing to waste reduction.
As we approach Thanksgiving, our goal is to offer these tips in the spirit of helping you make the holiday more sustainable. Let’s celebrate the season with gratitude for all that we have while also showing our love for the planet. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!