Anyone who has prepared a Thanksgiving meal knows there are dozens of decisions to make and dozens of ways to stress the details. Who will sit beside Great Aunt Petunia? Is it pecan, pumpkin or apple pie (or one of each!)? What color napkins and candles are on the table?
While we can’t tell you which dessert will be the biggest hit, we can share a few eco-friendly tips that will make preparing for the holiday a bit easier.
1. TELL YOUR GUESTS TO BRING THEIR OWN TUPPERWARE
Two things we can generally count on for Thanksgiving: being “overserved” and leftovers! Have your guests bring their own to-go containers so you’re not using enormous amounts of aluminium foil, plastic wrap and Ziploc bags that will ultimately get thrown away, creating even more waste.
2. USE REAL DISHES
If you can’t use your nice dishes on a holiday like Thanksgiving, then when can you? Besides the fact that using real plates, crystal and flatware makes the day and your guests feel special, you will have far less waste than if you used paper and plastic.
3. DRESS UP YOUR TABLE
You’ve dressed up for dinner, so why not get your table in elegant mode? Use fabric tablecloths and napkins that can be reused, rather than paper and plastic supplies that will just be thrown away.
4. OPEN A WINDOW
With your oven on high temperatures all day, your house is probably pretty toasty. Turn off the AC or thermostat and let in some of that cool autumn air. Your house will be the perfect temperature by the time your guests arrive.
5. EAT AND DRINK LOCAL
We’re often reminded of the benefits of shopping the local farmer’s market for seasonal products that haven’t travelled thousands of miles to get to our tables. Continue the trend for Turkey Day and pick up fruits and vegetables that are locally grown. This great feature from Epicurious shows you what’s in season, whether you live in Southern California or Upstate New York.
Make local selections for your dinner’s libations, too. Check out Wine-Searcher.com, and don’t discount organic blends – always the greener choice when you’re uncorking. If you’re shopping online, you’ll often find better pricing and you’ll bypass the crazy crowds at the supermarket! Bonus!!
6. BE THE BARTENDER
While you can always recycle and reuse glass wine bottles and plastic water bottles, odds are they’ll end up in the trash. Prevent this by serving a holiday punch from a punch bowl or pitcher. Or, create some water infusions: try slicing up lemons, limes and/or oranges and tossing them into a clear glass container filled with water. Much better than doling out dozens of plastic water bottles.
7. MAKE YOUR MEAL THE CENTERPIECE
The food is the real reason for this holiday, so let the turkey and all the fixings really take center stage and act as your table centerpiece. Sure you could spend money and decorate with fancy gourds and pretty pumpkins (that will end up in the garbage), but is there really anything more beautiful than whipped mashed potatoes doused in warm gravy? Think about it. No…no there isn’t.
8. LET YOUR DISHWASHER DO ITS JOB
How silly do we sound when we complain about having to do the dishes when we have a machine that actually washes our dishes for us while we sit and watch football? Let your dishwasher do its job! Stick your plates straight into the dishwasher without wasting all that water for a pre-rinse in the sink – you’ll save more than 6,000 gallons of water each year. Good for the planet, easy on you!