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Published on November 12th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans


Don’t Let Thanksgiving Ruin Your Carbon Diet!

Start the holiday season off right by curbing that consumption from the get-go.  Thanksgiving is a traditionally gluttonous holiday, but that doesn’t mean it has to be full of waste and unnecessary carbon emissions.

There are many simple things you can do to have a planet-conscious Thanksgiving.  Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

Table Set for Thanksgiving Meal

  • Buy local and organic

    Consider going vegetarian this Thanksgiving by trying an Turtle Island Tofurky Roast, sampling a Celebration Roast from Field Roast, serving up Quorn’s mycoprotein-based Turk’y Roast, or making your own UnTurkey.

    If that’s just not an option, make sure to get an organic, pastured turkey, ideally from a local farm (check Local Harvest), where you can support local business and cut down on transport-related emissions.  When shopping, look for organic products with the least amount of packaging.  And remember to bring your own shopping bags.

  • Stay close to home

    Invite your neighbors!  Having Thanksgiving at home is the best way to cut down on emissions and avoid cutting into your budget.  Whether you’re playing host or guest this year, consider what you can do to reduce your impact:

    • Organize guest carpools
    • If driving, make sure your car is in good condition (tires inflated etc.) and drive at 55mph for the best gas mileage
    • If you need to fly, consider buying carbon offsets
  • Use real place settings

    Resist the urge to use paper plates and plastic cutlery, but if you do, buy compostable and use cloth napkins.  Check out our Eco Entertaining section for ideas and eco product picks.

  • Compost, recycle, reuse

    For some, leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving.  When storing leftovers, use glass Tupperware (such as Pyrex’s 10 Piece Storage Set or similar products found at retailers like Crate & Barrel and IKEA), or use empty containers you already have handy, such as canning jars.

    In addition, consider donating to a food bank.  For that which can’t be saved, compost all you can and, as for that turkey fat and grease, check to see if there’s somewhere in your area that will take and recycle it for biofuel.

  • Give something back

    With all you have to be thankful for this holiday season, don’t forget the earth.  Something as simple as planting a tree can be a great way to say thanks and help fight global warming while potentially starting a family tradition.  After all, a family of four can get all the oxygen it needs for a year from one tree.

  • Share the knowledge

    The holidays are the perfect opportunity to share the “green” with less-knowledgeable relatives and friends.  If you’re hosting, be an example and find polite, quippy ways to let everyone know how easy it was to reduce your impact.  Especially tout the organic and local food, wowing them with facts such as “Everything you’re eating today came from under 100 miles away, is 100% organic, and only cost $__.”  Even you’ll be amazed that it’s true!

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