Tips to Make Thanksgiving Greener!

— Written By Trudy Pickett and last updated by

How can you make your Thanksgiving Day festivities as green as possible? The following four ideas will help you save money, save waste and help you to have a greener Thanksgiving.

  1. Shop locally and with reusable bags.

Shop at the farmer’s market or ask if your supermarket carries locally grown food. Making food from what is available is what Thanksgiving used to be all about. Take advantage of the local harvest for your menu, and you’ll be supporting the local economy. In Kinston, the Farmers’ Market will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

  1. Set an eco-friendly table.

Thanksgiving dinner is a time when you’re serving more people than you normally would. That means you’ll need more dishes. The best option would be to use regular dishes that will be washed after the meal. Borrow extras from a friend if you don’t have enough. You might also consider buying second hand dishes so that you can reuse what someone else has previously used. If you must use paper plates, napkins or cups, make sure that you buy those made from recycled materials. Read the label!

  1. Decorate your table with reusable items.

If you want an eco-friendly centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table, you have a lot of different choices. Don’t rely on disposable streamers, paper turkeys and other wasteful one-time use centerpieces. What did you use on last year’s Thanksgiving table? Reuse that again this year! If candles are a part of your centerpiece, use soy candles which are better for indoor air quality. Your first choice is to make a centerpiece out of the natural bounty that is around this time of year. Decorative gourds, dried corn and small pumpkins can all be used. Once you’re done with the items, you can return them to the earth by adding them to your compost pile.

  1. Leftovers.

Leftovers are a traditional part of any Thanksgiving feast, but they are only eco-friendly if they are used up! Make sure to reduce your amount of leftovers by making only old favorites and things that you know your guests will eat. Send your guests home with leftovers packed in recycled containers, or containers that they have brought with them. If you still end up with too many leftovers, shut-in neighbors might welcome a home-cooked meal. Share the bounty!

There are many more than four ways to be more eco-friendly at Thanksgiving. Make a challenge to your family to make reducing, reusing and recycling a priority this holiday. It may take a while but, with practice, you can create new traditions that are friendlier for our environment.

Resource: Jamie Jefferson