Environmental activism may not be the first thing you think of when you imagine planning for Thanksgiving, but this year, we want to encourage you to go a little more green this Turkey Day. There’s a lot to be thankful for, but none of it would be possible without this big green and blue marble we live on. Taking care of the planet will help us ensure all those things we are thankful for continue to be available to us, and if everyone pitches in, we will be celebrating the things we are thankful for for many generations to come.
At Wowe Lifestyle, we create products that help our clients live greener lives each and every day. We create environmental alternatives to the household and lifestyle products you already use so you can be effortlessly eco-friendly. This year, consider making a few small changes to your usual Thanksgiving routine. Once you’ve implemented green practices in your holiday routine once, the next year will be easy and effortless!
At the Grocery Store
Let’s be honest, the best part of Thanksgiving is all of the delicious food! The smell, taste, and feeling of a great Thanksgiving meal is something everyone loves, and if you happen to be hosting this year’s dinner, you are probably feeling the pressure of ensuring everyone has their favorite dish on the table. Though everyone has their traditions and preferences, there are a few changes you can make to your grocery shopping routine to kickstart your eco-friendly Thanksgiving.
Buy A Better Turkey
Though there isn’t one perfect method to procuring an environmentally friendly turkey for your Thanksgiving table, there are a few things you can look for when choosing a bird if you want to reduce your carbon footprint. While it may be tempting to grab the first reasonably priced turkey you see, mass-produced turkeys are typically cage-raised, treated with antibiotics/hormones, and transported great distances to reach your grocery store. A combination of wasteful farming practices, questionable animal treatment practices, and excessive use of resources can make the typical Thanksgiving turkey more wasteful than most people realize.
Instead of choosing your typical mass-produced turkey, consider a local, organic, or heritage turkey. Locally raised birds require fewer resources to produce than those shipped to you from hundreds of miles away, reducing the waste required to produce that particular bird. Organic birds are typically raised without the use of antibiotics, hormones, and other harmful chemicals, another way to reduce the wastefulness of your turkey.
Heritage turkeys, a newcomer to the scene, are turkeys with genetic roots tying them to native, genetically diverse turkeys that were common throughout the U.S. decades ago. These birds are allowed to roam free, eat a native and varied diet as wild turkeys do and are raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones. If you are interested in the preservation of genetically diverse wildlife, reducing your carbon footprint, and discovering a tasty traditional native turkey, choose a heritage bird.
A common pitfall of Thanksgiving grocery shopping is over-buying, the result of improperly estimating how much food you actually need. Unless you want tons of leftovers, over-estimating the ingredients you need will force you to throw out the excess, and waste your money in the process. A simple way to avoid wasting food is to sit down and calculate exactly how much you will need before you even make your grocery list. Not sure how much food you need this Thanksgiving?Follow these basic guidelines:
- 1 lb. turkey/person
- 3-4 oz. of each side dish/person
- 1 3-inch slice of pie/person
Bring Your Own Bags
Chances are good you will be picking up a lot of produce before your big holiday meal, which means you will probably be getting familiar with those rolls of thin, single-use produce bags. While these are a staple item in virtually every grocery store these bags are actually a major contributor to global plastic waste and are non-recyclable, meaning they frequently end up free-floating in oceans, rivers, and streams. Instead of reaching for dozens of these bags, which will only be used for a few hours at most, try bringing your own produce bags!
At Wowe Lifestyle, we carry Reusable Organic Cotton Produce Bags in mesh and solid varieties so you can completely eliminate the use of single-use plastic in the produce section. These eco-friendly alternatives to traditional plastic bags will keep your fruits, veggies, herbs, mushrooms, and bulk items safe on the way home, and won’t end up polluting the planet once you are done with them.
Easy to wash, made from eco-friendly organic cotton, and entirely reusable, these bags can help you avoid more than just single-use produce bags. Many grocery stores have a bulk section where you can buy grains, flours, beans, nuts, candy, dried fruit, and more. Bring your reusable produce bags along next time you visit and you can fill up on flour without needing to reach for a plastic container or buy pre-packed items.
Setting the Table
Finally sitting down to a big Thanksgiving meal after a long day of cooking is a great feeling, and it will feel even better if you can look at your table and feel confident about how it has been set. You may never have realized the way you set your table could be impacting the environment, but with more and more disposable convenience items being incorporated into everyday life, our global waste is on the rise. Try some of these methods for keeping your Thanksgiving table eco-friendly:
Bring Nature Inside
It may be tempting to snatch up those adorable decorations you find in your local stores, but this year, we encourage you to decorate the natural way. Instead of choosing human-made decore, bring some natural elements inside to your table! Collect brightly colored leaves, acorns, gnarled branches, and Autumn gords, then arrange them around your home. These natural touches make beautiful centerpieces, can add a touch of rustic whimsy to a mantlepiece, and make excellent additions to coffee tables, candleholders, and decorative trays.
Skip the Paper, Go for Cloth
If the best part of Thanksgiving is the food, the worst part has got to be the cleanup. With more people in your home than usual, more dishes to pile up next to the sink, and tons of glasses to meticulously polish, it is no wonder convenience items like paper/plastic plates, cutlery, and napkins have increased in popularity. Though disposable plates, cups, napkins, etc. are convenient, they are seriously bad for the environment, non-recyclable, and made from chemical-filled materials.
Though it may mean a tiny bit of extra clean up time, skip the paper and go for the real stuff this year. Choose cloth napkins, ceramic plates, glass drinkware, and metal utensils and avoid accumulating unnecessary waste during the holidays. Reusable items help you cut down on the amount of waste you produce, are more environmentally friendly, and are far more cost-effective than disposable alternatives.
Choose a Stainless Steel Straw
If you prefer to enjoy your drinks through a straw, be sure not to choose plastic. Recently, the negative impacts of plastic straws on the environment made it to mainstream news due to their highly negative effect on oceans and marine wildlife. Non-recyclable and commonly littered, plastic straws find their way into streams, rivers, and oceans where marine creatures often mistake them for food. Frequently found lodged in the stomaches, nostrils, eyes, ears, and other cavities of marine animals, the problem of plastic straws can only be combatted by reducing the number of straws that find their way to the oceans.
At the current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050, and since consumers continue to uphold the demand for plastic straws, it doesn’t seem like a viable solution is in sight. If you want to do your part to reduce plastic pollution and avoid dumping more plastic straws into Earth’s sensitive eco-systems, try using an alternative. Wowe’s Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Metal Straws are the perfect alternative to plastic, are fully reusable, and can last a lifetime with proper use. Drop a stainless steel straw in your guests’ glasses this Thanksgiving, and everyone will be oohing and ahhing over your classy plastic straw alternative.
Once the Party is Over
Weeks of planning, days of cooking, weekends of cleaning, and 20 minutes of eating. Just because Thanksgiving dinner is over doesn’t mean the work is! Once your guests are fully satisfied and ready to plop on the couch for their post-dinner malaise, it’s time for you to do a few more things to top off your eco-friendly Thanksgiving.
Compost the Waste
Chances are good you will have at least a few leftovers, and though many of them can be devoured in the form of day-after-Thanksgiving sandwiches, some will need to be tossed. Rather than throwing leftovers and food waste directly in the trash, try composting! Food scraps, veggie ends, eggshells, coffee grounds, leftover pie crust and more can go straight in the compost bin!
Use Your Dishwasher
Washing every dish you use on Thanksgiving by hand will waste a ton of water, so unless the item is not dishwasher safe, avoid handwashing your dishes. Carefully filling your dishwasher for maximum efficiency will help you save water, time, and energy while giving you a better clean.
Once all is said and done, take some notes on how you did! Did you buy too many potatoes? Too few cranberries? Did the pumpkin pie go uneaten but apple was devoured? See where you can cut back on ingredients, forego dishes altogether, and generally improve your shopping/planning for next year.