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How to go Green for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2019 occurs on Thursday, November 28. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple has become so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday. According to the National Turkey Federation, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird be it roasted, baked, or deep-fried on Thanksgiving. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. But how can we have a more sustainable Thanksgiving?

Here are 7 ways to celebrate an eco-friendly Thanksgiving Holiday:

1) Shop with Packaging in Mind – When shopping for Thanksgiving, look for products with packaging that is minimal and/or recyclable. Bring your reusable shopping bags with you to the store. Recycle all the paper, plastic, and glass containers that you can.

2) Keep it Simple – Many families have some wasted food at Thanksgiving. Prepare the holiday meal with the goal of having no waste. Maybe it means eliminating a side dish or two, or not having so many pies to choose from. Another idea is to have smaller plates so your guests do not take more food than they can eat. You can scale back to reduce waste and still have a fantastic meal.

3) Make your Own Natural Decorations – A great part about Thanksgiving is that it is easy to use nature to decorate. For instance, pumpkins, leaves, pinecones and branches all make great Thanksgiving decorations. Since they come from nature, they are all easily disposable and biodegradable. 

4) Turn Down the Heat – You will have a house full of guests and a warm oven on for most of the day, so don’t be afraid to turn your furnace down a few degrees to conserve some energy.

5) Avoid Disposable Tableware and Containers – Make Grandma proud and pull out her old 

china for the dishware. Avoid using paper plates, plastic silverware, plastic wrap, and tin turkey pans. If you are packaging leftovers, reuse plastic Tupperware or recycled glass jars instead of the throw away alternatives.

6) Find Ways to Reuse the Leftovers – Plan ahead and find some recipes to make use of the leftover turkey and mashed potatoes before they sneak to the back of the fridge. Don’t forget that there are some leftovers you can freeze, too.

7) Say Thank You – Tell the people you care about how much you care about them and how they have helped to make the world a better place. Teach children how they can give thanks to Mother Earth by reducing, reusing, and recycling all year long.

What are some ways you think you can apply in “Going Green” for this Thanksgiving?

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