Plastic-Free thanksgiving

How To Have A Plastic-free Thanksgiving

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.

Plastic-free Thanksgiving meals

Shop local

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.

Opt for reusable tableware

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.

Thanksgiving is all about food. This year, make the feast plastic-free as well.Thanksgiving is all about food. This year, make the feast plastic-free as well.

Plastic-free Thanksgiving decorations

Go DIY or revamp old decorations

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.

Create decorations from nature

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.

Reuse your natural Halloween decoration and compost it afterwards.Reuse your natural Halloween decoration and compost it afterwards.

Plastic-free cleanup

Give out the leftovers

Before getting a giant plastic bag to dispose of the leftovers from Thanksgiving in, here's what you should do:

  • Invite everybody for a leftover brunch the next day
  • Give the food away to friends and relatives
  • Donate entire meals to nearby shelters
If you have a lot of leftovers, give them away or host a leftover brunch.If you have a lot of leftovers, give them away or host a leftover brunch.

Turn leftovers into broth

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.

Freeze leftovers

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:

  • Tempered glass: Mason jars are great for freezing. Do not fill them to the very top so that the liquid can expand
  • Stainless steel: The best option for leftovers. Steel food containers are airtight, watertight and freezer-proof
  • Butcher paper or waxed paper: Good option for a shorter period of time 
  • Aluminium foil: Make sure that there is no hole in the packaging to avoid freezer burn
  • Cartons: Yes, you can freeze milk or cream in their own cartons

Compost what you can't save

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!

Read on for more tips on eco-friendly Thanksgiving!

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