By Fatima Cristina
Giving thanks together with our families and friends this year during Thanksgiving dinner will be so important, especially after all we have been through with the COVID-19 pandemic. What should also be important, though, is being more sustainable during this holiday in order to help our environment. Here are some steps that you can follow to help you reduce your impact on the environment.
1. Use public transportation, car pool or even walk. We all love to get together with family and friends during the holiday, but cutting down on travel will help to reduce carbon emissions. Best of all, you won’t be sitting in all the holiday traffic.
2. Lower your thermostats and shut your lights. If you are traveling out of town or just to a close family or friend’s home, remember before you leave home to lower the thermostats and shut off all your lights to help save energy.
3. Plan your recipes. If you are cooking for Thanksgiving, then plan your recipes so that they fit together. A half a stick of butter may be used for your mashed potatoes, so look to see if you can use the other half for your baking. Buy only enough for what you actually need.
4. Shop local and buy organic. Shopping local farmer’s markets reduces carbon emissions because the food is locally sourced and hasn’t traveled a long distance to get to your plate. Make sure you buy organic because it’s better for the planet.
5. Use those good dishes. Don’t use paper or plastic products because it is very wasteful. You may hate to do dishes, but if you use an energy efficient dishwasher you could save up to 25 gallons of water per load.
6. Don’t overfill your plate. Food waste makes up most of what is sent to landfills. Thanksgiving is not only about stuffing the turkey but it’s also about stuffing ourselves. So fill your plate with the food that you know you will eat without being wasteful. You can always go back for seconds if you’re still hungry.
7. Store leftovers in reusable containers. When it’s time to clean up, don’t use zipper plastic storage bags, tin foil or plastic wrap. It is much better to use reusable containers made from glass to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfills.
8. Compost food scraps. If you do have food scraps, then make sure to compost it. Compost is great for your soil and will help to keep your waste out of the landfills.
9. Reheating your leftovers. There are so many recipes available online to help you with your leftover Thanksgiving meal or you can just reheat what you already have. Either way, make sure to make only what you will eat, so there isn’t much food waste.
10. Donate Non-Perishable Foods. If you purchased an extra can of corn, gravy, or other non-perishable item that you did not use, please do not leave it in your pantry to expire and then throw out. Try to donate any extra non-perishable items to a local food bank, like City Harvest.
This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for our family, friends, and coworkers. Let us also be thankful for our Thanksgiving meal. Lastly, we need to be thankful for our planet and all that it provides to us. It is up to us all to do all we can to protect our environment.