Thanksgiving can get pretty hectic with all the planning and organizing - so it's understandable that we want the most convenient options to make everything easier. However, this convenience can come at the expense of the environment, as we opt for single-use plastic (for packaging, food, etc.). With a little advance planning, you can keep things convenient while avoiding plastic waste. Use these tips to plan a fantastic plastic-free Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is all about food. This year, before you head to the nearest supermarket, visit a local farmers market, butcher, baker, etc. When you shop local, you reduce the environmental impact of your dinner (you reduce the distance your ingredients travel before they reach you, and therefore the carbon footprint needed to source those ingredients). You're also less likely to encounter plastic-wrapped food, and you can bring your own bags to collect your produce. Plus, you'll be supporting your own community! Also, your food is more likely to be super fresh.
Ditch the disposable cups and plates and opt to serve your meals in reusable cups, plates and serving platters. An additional step is to prepare your meals in multipurpose dinnerware that can be used for cooking, reheating, serving and storing. Glass serving platters are a great option. Just make sure you use ones that can withstand high temperatures. This means you'll waste less water because you'll have fewer dishes to wash, and you'll save money, too. You can find many more ideas for plastic-free tableware in this post.
Before you start looking for plastic-free decorations, look around your house and see what you already have. All you need for crafting is some cardboard, string and paint, and you're ready to go! If you're not a DIYer, you can also just use old decor (whether it's Thanksgiving decor or any other decoration) and turn it into something you can hang up for Thanksgiving with a little creativity.
If you hate cleaning up, this is the perfect solution. Thanksgiving is all about fall anyway. So why not reuse your Halloween decoration and decorate your home with pumpkins, pine cones or strung-up leaves? When the day is over, just sweep it into your garden and nourish the earth.
Before getting a giant plastic bag to dispose of the leftovers from Thanksgiving in, here's what you should do:
Store leftover vegetable peels, ends and scraps in a large glass bowl or reusable silicone bag. When the bag or container is full, cook up a tasty homemade vegetable broth. Then store the broth in jars or an ice cube tray in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. In addition to sauces, risotto, polenta and other dishes, broth also works well in soups and stews.
It's pretty easy to do. If you can't or don't want to give the meals away, freeze them in plastic-free containers. Here are a few options for plastic-free food storage:
Depending on where you live, there are different composting solutions. Create your own compost garbage can and a small garden to match. If you don't have your own compost garbage can or pile, ask a neighbor if they have one you can use. There may also be municipal composting facilities in your city or town.
Which of these plastic-free Thanksgiving ideas will you try this year? Share them with me on Twitter!