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Written by Lindsay Crowder   
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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Have an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving!

The time of year is approaching again to gather with family and friends and share your thanks over a big meal. Yes, Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner! While this season is usually a time to celebrate the land and its offerings, it can also be a time to give our respect back to the environment. Below are some ideas to make this year’s planning and partying a little more eco-friendly:

Planning the Event
  • Make sure you have the correct head count before you go shopping to make sure you will only buy what you will use.

  • Once you decide on the menu, bring reusable bags to do your shopping.

  • Buy only products in containers that can be recycled (if you compost!).

  • Use cloth napkins and reusable/washable plates, cups, and utensils to reduce paper and plastic waste. If you need to buy new ones, go vintage! And if you must use disposable products, look for ones that can be recycled or composted.
The Menu
  • 1
    Buy organic . Organic products will reduce the amount of pesticides, fertilizers, and hormones in your meal and the environment. Start going to your local Farmers Market a couple of weeks ahead to see what you can expect to have on your menu! For more information on organic food and organic Thanksgiving recipes and ideas, check out:

  • Buy local. Supporting locally grown food will reduce your carbon footprint by minimizing excess manufacturing, transportation, and packaging in your meal. Moreover, much of the local food you find in the supermarket or at your local farmer’s market is organic. To help find local food vendors near you, look into these resources:

  • Buy a cruelty-free turkey. Look for a “Free Farmed” label, pasture raised, or heritage turkey. Look for free-range turkeys at retailers like Whole Foods and Williams and Sonoma which have carried them in previous years. You could also find one from a local free-range farm. If you are looking for a Heritage turkey, which is a traditional "standard" breed of turkey that has not been "industrialized" for efficient factory production, search for vendors at

  • Go vegetarian! Because animals require more land, water, and waste to produce than vegetables and grains, going vegetarian is a sure way to reduce your Thanksgiving footprint. Everyone loves the side dishes anyway, stuffing, pumpkin and other tasty specialty breads, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and the list continues! Find some delicious vegetarian recipes at:

Eco Thanksgiving - Buy Fresh Buy Local2

Getting There
  • If possible, stay at home! This will reduce emissions and excess energy consumption from your vehicle.

  • Travel wisely. Walk, bike, or use public transportation if possible. If you must drive, make sure your tires are inflated properly and carpool if possible. If flying, consider buying carbon credits to offset your flight emissions.
The Feast
  • Make your own decorations! Reuse last year’s decorations or get creative with things you already have at home. For a handful of ideas, click here.

  • Turn down your thermostat. Having a house full of people while cooking all day provides a great deal of heat in your home. Adjust your thermostat a few degrees cooler to conserve energy .

  • Turn off your lights! Use natural light as much as possible. Eat earlier or use candles instead of electricity.

  • Eat your leftovers. Send extra food home with guests or get creative with your leftover food. Do not allow anything to go to waste.
If you still feel that your environmental itch is not satisfied by the above ideas, you can take your eco-friendly Thanksgiving to the next level by:
  • Planting a tree on Thanksgiving Day. Trees absorb carbon dioxide , a greenhouse gas that is linked contributes to global warming, and returns oxygen to the environment. Give your thanks by giving back.

  • Making time to say thank you for what our Earth has offered. Use this opportunity to talk about the environment and your eco-friendly meal.

  • Go green on Black Friday! Instead of driving around town to catch every sale going on, make a conscience effort to stay eco-friendly the day after Thanksgiving. Stay at home, or go for a walk. Recycle your excess waste. Compost your leftovers or build a compost if you do not have one set-up, and you can look at some Greeniacs guides for help:

Think about adding green ideas into your red, orange, and yellow color scheme this Thanksgiving!


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Last Updated ( Monday, 13 November 2017 )