Thanksgiving: the holiday of food and family. Many of us use this time of year to recognize everything we’re thankful for. As we get toward the end of such a crazy year, finding gratitude is now more important than ever. Here at Reel, we’re thankful for this beautiful planet, and we can keep it beautiful by cutting back on holiday waste.
Your festivities can still be centered around food and family. However, this year, we invite you to welcome the earth to a seat at your table as well.
Here’s how you and your loved ones can celebrate Thanksgiving without hurting the environment!
Carpool on the Day, If Possible
Even before everyone gets together, you can do your part for the environment. Everyone bringing their own car uses lots of gas, pumps out emissions, and requires tons of parking.
Very few people like searching for parking. Imagine not having to worry about it in addition to saving on gas and spewing fewer emissions into the air. Moreover, you’d even get to spend more time with your family — just be sure you’re in the car with people you can stand.
Build a High-Quality, Sustainable Menu
Building a delicious menu for likely the most anticipated meal of the year comes with a healthy amount of pressure. It can get even more stressful when you want to keep your Thanksgiving food tasty yet sustainable.
Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure your Thanksgiving food satisfies your cravings and protects the earth. Below are a few ideas to help you put together a delectable and sustainable meal!
- Eat less meat, but of higher quality to reduce the impact on the planet and increase the impact on your palate.
- Use local fruits and veggies to crisply complement your main course. They’re fresh and tasty, so don't be afraid to go big!
- Incorporate homegrown produce from your garden, too. Everything tastes better when it’s grown at home.
- Plan out your shopping trips to avoid driving back and forth to the store, and to avoid holiday-induced shopping craziness.
These tactics will help reduce the direct and indirect environmental impact of your holiday dinner. Additionally, it will leave your guests with full and satisfied tummies.
Pack Up Leftover Thanksgiving Food
At the end of the evening, there’s always plenty of leftovers to go around. Apportioning leftovers will keep your guests fed for the better part of a week. Even better, packing food up in reusable containers dramatically reduces plastic waste.
Furthermore, keep in mind how much food you give to each guest. Some people may eat more than others, so being mindful of this helps cut back on food waste down the road. For example, a retired couple will probably need fewer leftovers than, say, a starving college student. Trust me, a college student will eat all the leftovers you give them.
Recycle What You Can & Compost Food Scraps
After all the leftover Thanksgiving food has been distributed, there’s bound to still be some waste. How this waste is disposed of will ultimately make or break any green holiday.
First, you should look for anything that you can reuse or recycle. Before you recycle something, though, be sure it’s an approved recyclable item by your local recycling service.
After that, most food scraps can be composted. Whether you use a composting service or have your own compost bin, composting makes sure that any leftover nutrients get returned to the earth in a constructive way.
Enjoy Some Clean, Green Family Fun
Once your delicious meal has been devoured, it’s time to enjoy some quality time with your loved ones. After such a big meal, though, you might not be up for it.
A light stroll after dinner can help ward off any postprandial somnolence — also known as a food coma, the itis, or just feeling sleepy after you eat. According to research compiled by Healthline, walking after meals may even have other great health benefits, too!
After a rejuvenating walk, an exciting video game or rousing board game is the perfect way to keep the festivities alive! If you’re interested in playing an eco-friendly game, here are a few to try out.
- National Parks Jenga includes a fun fact on each block and supports National Parks.
- Kubbs is an outdoor game that uses both skill and strategy, and it can be played in rain, sleet, or snow — sunlight is also nice, though.
- Bicycle Eco Cards make for a sustainable twist on the classic card deck by using vegetable ink, recycled packaging, and more!
Spending time with the people close to you is one of the best parts of the holiday season. Breaking out some eco-friendly entertainment makes it even more enjoyable!
Share the Wealth
Over the years, Thanksgiving has become a holiday centered around large amounts of delicious food, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, the true purpose of the holiday revolves around two things: community and gratitude.
Although it’s a fun and tasty holiday to spend with family, we can’t forget about the humanitarian side of Thanksgiving. Donating time or supplies to a local food bank will allow you to support your local community, and you’ll likely brighten someone else’s holiday as well.
Just please do not bring leftovers to a food bank, they won’t be able to take them and that tasty food will end up going to waste.
Enjoy This Holiday Safely & Sustainably
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to spend with your loved ones. Whatever you’re grateful for, it’s also important to be thankful for our amazing planet. For this reason, we should do all we can to keep Thanksgiving green.
How are you celebrating gratitude this year? Let us know in the comments!