Ten Tips for an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Dinner

This turkey looks ready for a green Thanksgiving! How about you?
This turkey looks ready for a green Thanksgiving! How about you?

This turkey looks ready for a green Thanksgiving! How about you?

  1. Use reusable plates, glasses and napkins. Yes, get out the good china, and skip the paper or (yikes) Styrofoam plates. Even when you account for original production of ceramics and using water to clean the plates you come out ahead here.
  2. Use local and organic foods as much as possible. See what your local farmer’s market has to offer the week before Thanksgiving and get creative. Organic food is chemical-free, and promote biodiversity and better soil quality.
  3. Compost your scraps. The average American family wastes 600 pound of uneaten food every year. The least you can do is start a compost bin and make your scraps useful and your plants happy. (One of our favorite tips at Good Earth Plant Company).
  4. Drink tap water, or filtered local water. Americans spend $18 billion (yes, with a B billion) on bottled water annually. Even when you recycle the plastic bottles, petroleum resources are used to produce that plastic, and bottles from outside your area were trucked or flown in using fossil fuels.
  5. If you’re serving alcohol, consider local wine and beer choices. In California, we have no excuse for not serving local wines. In San Diego, we have even less excuse for not serving local beers! If you have relatives coming to visit, what better way to show off a little of San Diego’s finest beverages?
  6. Think twice about your turkey. What? No turkey? We know it is traditional, but most Americans consume factory farm turkey meat full of hormones, injected with oil and flavoring. If you can’t do without turkey, buy an organic or better yet a free-range turkey.
  7. Love your leftovers. Most people cook way too much food at Thanksgiving. Before you turn a lot of it into compost, figure out some creative ways to use those leftovers. There are more possibilities than just turkey sandwiches.
  8. Tap into Tupperware. Or any reusable containers. Avoid using aluminum foil, plastic wrap or wax paper to wrap up your leftovers. Buy containers you can send home with your guests, and keep reusing them year-round. And while you’re thinking about packaging, buy from bulk bins when you can to save on cardboard or plastic packaging.
  9. Make your holiday centerpiece out of natural materials such as pinecones, dried flowers and leaves, citrus fruits, flowers and greens instead of buying a display including plastic.
  10. Share your good fortune. If you are having a big Thanksgiving dinner, invite people over who may not have anywhere to go. Sustainable communities put people at the heart of everything they do.