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How to Celebrate a Sustainable Thanksgiving This Year

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Thanksgiving is all about abundance. The once-a-year celebration is designed to commemorate an incredible feast, so it is time to spoil ourselves, right? But, as we do that, we should remember that food waste in the U.S. is a serious problem that only gets worse during the holidays. 

When it comes to holidays, the food waste process starts with your shopping and continues with how you set your festive tables. So, if you are concerned about waste, you should pay attention to every detail and always make responsible decisions. 

Even if all of these seem overwhelming, we are here to give a helping hand and guide you through some sustainability tips in order to enjoy Thanksgiving time with friends and family while reducing your carbon footprint.

Sustainable Thanksgiving Shopping

It is not that shocking that household garbage, including food waste, increases by as much as 25 percent during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. In the U.S., food is the largest category of waste in municipal landfills, and it releases an enormous amount of greenhouse gases as it decomposes. 

No matter how long your Thanksgiving guest list is, you can do your part to reduce the environmental impact of your get-together. Here are some tips on shopping for your eco-friendly feast.

Stick to Your Shopping List

checklist yes no


Combating food waste begins by creating a proper shopping list. Here we rely on your exceptional planning skills. It may seem tempting to make extra purchases, but you should keep your goal in mind and be confident in your list. Do not forget that supermarkets are designed to tempt you to buy more. Try your best to resist the temptation of consumerism.

Go for Local and Organic

tomatoes in a reusable shopping bag


There are specific advantages of using local and organic foods. While many of these products may seem more expensive, buying even one or two items, which are locally or organically grown, can really make a difference. 

In addition, look for veggies and fruit that are cultivated in your geographical area. The closer the source is to your current location, the lower the environmental impact. The transportation phase in the food industry leaves a considerable carbon footprint. 

Some of the best vegetables in season for fall include sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Also, apples and pumpkins are great additions to any Thanksgiving meal. The great thing about these ingredients is that they can be served in many dishes, mostly in desserts.

Bring Your Own Grocery Bags

oranges in a reusable shopping bag


To rear customers in the right direction, numerous stores are beginning to charge more on plastic bags than they used to in the past. By bringing your own reusable grocery bags whenever you go shopping, you end up saving considerable money and helping the environment.  

You can take even bolder steps and choose a compostable grocery bag or a recycled canvas bag instead of a single-use plastic one. This way, you are reducing the sum your community must invest in cleaning up the neighborhood. 

Furthermore, you are also reducing the number of non-renewable resources necessary to produce plastic bags. If you are interested in more benefits compostable plastic has to offer, read this article.

Preparing a Sustainable Thanksgiving Feast

In 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency announced their goal to cut domestic food waste in half by 2030. For the plan to succeed, each American should go from tossing 218.9 pounds of food each year to throwing away no more than 109.4 pounds yearly. 

This can sound really hard to accomplish, but baby steps are the key. So far, we have found out some useful tips about sustainable shopping. Next, it's time to learn something about how to prepare and cook an eco-friendly feast.

Eco-Friendly Meal Prep



First of all, before you start preparing, set out different containers for trash, recycling, and compost. Put them next to your prep space for easy access, and make sure that every person willing to help you with the preparations is aware of this arrangement. 

Then, when the time comes to discard packaging, check for the recycle symbol, and find out what type of recyclables your community service accepts. If there are any plastics that your community service cannot accept, keep them and take them to a facility that does. 

Secondly, cut away as little of your vegetables as possible to reduce waste. You can even skip peeling the carrots and potatoes — the skins are full of vitamins and rather delicious! Just make sure to wash the fresh veggies and fruits really well.

Sustainable Cooking

mother and child cooking together


The secret to sustainable cooking is timing. So, plan your cooking to minimize the use of certain resources and find an application that can handle multiple timers at once. Set the timers for everything that could be overcooked to prevent unwanted waste. 

Don't forget to minimize the use of electricity as much as possible. For example, double up in the oven when dishes need to be cooked at the same temperature. Likewise, keep the temperature as low as possible on the stovetop to use less energy and prevent over-cooking. 

Moreover, do not forget to set your home heat accordingly. When you are getting sweaty, remember that the best solution is to reduce the temperature, not to open the window while your gas boiler is still working. 

Green Tips for Setting the Table

family sitting around a thanksgiving table


Avoid using plastic disposable dishes and utensils. Instead, for an eco-friendly holiday, use reusable dinnerware, glasses, and napkins. If you are set on serving single-use dishes, go for compostable or biodegradable items. 

We are aware that Thanksgiving is traditionally a day for excessive eating, but if you take a few moments to enjoy your food, you will allow time for the sensation of satiation to set in. Also, to encourage guests to take less, use smaller serving spoons in each dish.

When the feast is ready and the day is about to end, find your local food bank and donate excess or unused food to those in need. After all, sharing, offering, and giving back is what this holiday is all about.

Reusable Tote Bags on Thanksgiving

stack of white reusable tote bags


We already mentioned using a reusable tote bag for shopping, but it has so many other benefits. Thanksgiving is about being grateful for everything special happening in your life. It includes, of course, the Thanksgiving feast hostess or host, who deserves a thoughtful appreciation gift for all of their effort. 

Say a heartfelt thank you for the feast and the delightful atmosphere by bringing something unique to the party. If you already think of a bottle of fine wine or a spa bag for the ultimate surprise, we are here to offer you the matching tote bags for these gifts. 

Even if the actual present is something that will be consumed, the tote bag will last and always remind the hostess of that special day. Moreover, we can back you up with some suggestions of our own.

On the other hand, if you host the party and wish to impress your loved ones, goodie bags for guests will help make the day unforgettable. Keep in mind that the whole idea is to make it representative and special. While sweets are a popular gift option, you can take a different approach by offering a more personal and long-lasting product.

Giving Back to Your Community

Volunteering has become a popular Thanksgiving Day activity. Communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate. If you want to be a part of these wonderful activities and do not really know how to contribute, you can just bring festive tote bags

This is such a great gift option because it combines function with esthetics. Also, they can fill their gift with all the food they receive at the event. It is certainly a practical and kind gift to offer on Thanksgiving Day.

These are only some ideas on how you can transform an everyday tote into a wonderful gift invested with emotion. At the same time, you encourage the receiver to go for reusable, compostable, or biodegradable products and become an eco-friendly consumer.

Giving Thanks to Earth, too!

holding a sprout


Today, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat turkey meat — whether roasted, baked, or deep-fried — on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce.

All that food and so much of it ends in the trash! No wonder the holiday lost some of its significance in time. At first, the meal had the purpose of expressing gratitude, especially to God, for all the good in our lives. Unfortunately, we can't show gratitude by spoiling ourselves and wasting so much food, especially when food waste in America is a serious problem that only worsens during the holidays.

It is time to change our habits and be more careful with our grand celebrations that harm the environment. From now on, one of the things we should be thankful for is Earth, after all it offers us so much. Therefore, be kind to our planet and show your gratitude in actions!