The holidays are known for being a time of excess, not a time of being environmentally conscious. But there are ways you can make your Thanksgiving feast a more eco-friendly event.
Buy produce at your local farmer’s market instead of the big grocery chain. Not only will it be fresher than the grocery store alternative, you don’t need to expend alot of fossil fuels to get it to your table because it wasn’t shipped from across the country or from South America. It may even be cheaper.
Check for local options when purchasing your turkey or ham. You may be able to purchase your main dish from a local farmer, maybe even one who offers free-range or vegetarian fed birds.
Buy from a bakery instead of purchasing pre-packaged breads. Your local bakery will have the freshest breads and pies, and many will even do special orders.
Limit the use of disposable items
Use real dishes and silverware instead of paper and plastic. Give your dishwasher a workout instead, or better yet…let your guests pitch in to clean up after the wonderful meal you served.
Purchase beverages in two liter or gallon containers instead of single-serving cans and bottles.
Use your regular cookware instead of purchasing one-time-use foil or plastic dishes.
Instead of purchasing disposable plastic containers for your guests to pack doggy bags with, consider re-using empty margarine tubs or Cool Whip containers.
If you are going to use disposable items, try to purchase those made from recycled materials.
Try to bake items that require the same temperature at the same time to limit oven use.
Fill the kitchen sink with warm soapy water to wash cooking utensils. You will save water versus running the tap to clean each individual item.
Turn down the thermostat. If your expecting a house full of guests the temperature in your home is likely to increase all on its own. Combined with the heat from the oven, may find yourself overheating and opening doors and windows to let fresh air in. Taking all these extra heat sources you can probably get away with setting your thermostat to 68° or even a little lower.
Use an electric roaster to cook your turkey. They use less energy than your oven, your bird will cook faster and the meat will be moister too.
Don’t throw that food in the garbage
No one wants to eat turkey sandwiches for a week after Thanksgiving, but there are alot of fresh recipe ideas available on line. Here’s one…. layer your leftovers in a pie shell and make a Thanksgiving Shepherd’s Pie; sweet potatoes, squash, corn, green beans, turkey, gravy and even cranberry sauce all make great ingredients. Top it off with the leftover mashed potatoes. Bake at 350° for about an hour. The mashed potatoes make a crispy top crust.
The turkey carcass is a great soup starter. If you don’t feel like making soup right now, it can be frozen away for later use. It will keep in a deep freezer for up to six months.
If you’re not a fan of leftovers, check with local shelters and church groups to see if they can use any of your food to help the hungry. Depending on local and state regulations they may or may not be able to take the help. If they can, your leftovers are sure to make someone less fortunate very happy.
Some stuff you’ll just have to discard. Instead of dumping vegetables, potatoes, breads, pies and cranberry sauce in the trash, compost them. Alternatively, check for local farmers who may be able to feed the scraps to their livestock.
Got other ideas?
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Changing your entire Thanksgiving plan all at once is an overwhelming task. But if you implement even a few of these ideas you’ll be saving the environment while still keeping your holiday traditions.