How to Have a More Eco-Friendly Sustainable Thanksgiving

thanksgiving iconography

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time of the year that reminds us to take a moment to slow down and be grateful for the people we love, the accomplishes we’ve made, and the struggles we’ve overcome.

However, the holidays also tend come with a lot of waste with 40% of all the edible food in the United States ending up in the landfill.  To help us combat the waste and be grateful to our marvelous planet this holiday, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite tips to stay green while giving thanks:

Choose reuseables over disposables

Though tempting to switch to disposable to help speed up the post-meal cleanup, disposable utensils, plates, cups, and napkins are wasteful and overall uses more water in its creation than washing a reusable plate. The vast majority of these products also are made from plastic or have plastic coverings, which often ends up in our precious oceans.

Use More Local, Organic, Plant-Based Ingredients

When crafting the menu for your Thanksgiving meal, opt for less meat, and more local, seasonal plants. Animal agriculture in the United States, specifically the utilization of factory farms, is quite detrimental to the climate. The U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) attributes 14.5% of global emissions to animal agriculture, greater than all transportation combined.

Alternatively, local, seasonal plants have a softer ecological footprint and are more nutritious. Farmers markets are great place for seasonal ingredient inspiration. For the meat you may choose to include in the menu, opt for local, organic, free-range meat.

Another benefit of buying from your local farmers market is the lack of wasteful packaging that often comes from products purchased from stores or restaurants — bringing your holiday celebration one major step closer to being zero waste Thanksgiving!

pile of squash

Join the Clean Plate Club

The best way to end massive amount of food waste is showing gratitude for the amount of resources and labor that goes into our foods and eat all the food on our plates (aka join the clean plate club).

Every Thanksgiving, Americans throw away 282 million dollars worth of uneaten turkey, or about 204 million lbs. This meat contains about 105 billion gallons of water and is enough food to feed the entirety of New York City for more than 100 days.

Another way to join the clean plate club is to embrace the beauty of leftovers. There are ton of great recipes for leftover turkey, stuffing, and other Thanksgiving dinner staples. Another great option is bringing the scrapes to your town’s composting center.

#OptOutside on Black Friday

Join us with our friends REI on the day after Thanksgiving and #OptOutside instead of partaking in the consumer-driven, tempting Black Friday sales. Choosing to spend more time outside, to connect with nature and the world around us, gives us the chance to revisit why we must take more actions to live more sustainably and to recognize the importance the outdoors has on our health and wellbeing.

From all of us at Natracare, we wish you a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving! We are truly grateful to be on this journey with you. And we would love to hear from you: what are some of your favorite eco-friendly Thanksgiving tips and tricks? Let us know on Twitter!

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