3 Tips for an Easy and Green Thanksgiving Holiday

By John Rose, November 18, 2014, Events & Fun, Green

3 Tips for an Easy and Green Thanksgiving HolidayI’ll be the first one to admit that being environmentally conscious can fall by the wayside during holiday celebrations, with Thanksgiving being no exception. Between the 4 varieties of stuffing, copious amounts of turkey, heaping plates vegetables, and 3 kinds of pie, the last thing that crosses my mind is if my holiday preparations are on the green side. Since we have some time to prep, let’s look at a few quick and easy ways to keep Thanksgiving green!

1) Setup & Cleaning

Let’s start with a few home truths: very few of us like to clean. As a result, when twenty family members descend upon your home, and you are preparing the requisite thirty-seven-and-a-half different dishes that your family traditionally enjoys, you’re almost forced to face the mess. At the supermarket, the disposable cutlery and plates just happen to fall into your basket, because you cannot face the idea of the piles of dishes after the annual turkey-gorge. Don’t do it! Put them back! The environmentalist in you knows these are not the answer. Keeping trash out of our landfills is a great and lofty goal. If you just simply cannot give on this point, at least consider biodegradable options. These might be a little more expensive, but Mother Nature thanks you.

2) Planning Your Meal

Now, onto the meal itself! I have spoken several times about the importance of locally sourced foods. The amount of fuel used to transport from farm to fork in this country is incredible and not good for the environment at all. Find a local farm, and pick out your turkey. Join a fruit and vegetable co-op, and build your meal around in-season produce that isn’t shipped in from warmer (or colder) climates. This might require a slight shift in what is on your Thanksgiving table, but any move that way is a move in the right direction.

3 Tips for an Easy and Green Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving Leftovers image courtesy of Muffet. https://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/

3) The Leftovers

No one makes mashed potatoes like my Grandmother, so I love being able to take more home to enjoy the days after the main feast (apologies to my wife, but she knows it’s true). But let’s be honest, too much stuff gets thrown into the trash after the initial meal. Try to plan your meal creatively so you’re able to use all the leftovers afterwards. Ideas we utilize in my household include:

  • Making turkey stock for soup from all the bones. We store this in the freezer and bring it out when needed. So much better than store bought, and friendly on the wallet too!
  • Using all the remaining vegetables in a magnificent fried potato meal the next day. This is affectionately known as bubble and squeak in the UK and is a delicacy my wife introduced me to. More information can be found here: http://www.whats4eats.com/breakfast/bubble-and-squeak-recipe
  • Decide what you truly WANT to eat on Thanksgiving day and what you are happy to eat for days afterwards. Just avoid the temptation to make five trays of roasted Brussels sprouts if you know only Aunt Mary will eat them. Exercise restraint and try to cook only what you know people will eat.
  • It is impossible, however, to eat everything, as I don’t expect you to chow down on turkey bones or giblets. Utilize your compost pile for any and all food scraps. Compost not only saves space in landfills, it saves you money at the lawn and garden center as you plant your spring gardens.

While staying green over the Thanksgiving holidays may seem daunting, a few simple steps can make a big difference and ease your conscience as the holidays draw to a close.

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