Thanksgiving is all about showing gratitude for life, family, and friendships—and why shouldn’t that thanks extend to Mother Earth? An environmentally friendly Thanksgiving is the ultimate way to give thanks. But unfortunately, avoiding household waste takes more than swapping out cellophane-wrapped veggies for reusable canvas totes.
If you’re stumped at how to accomplish this goal, we’re here to help. Check out these pro-tips to learn how to have a green Thanksgiving and completely plastic-free holiday season.
1. Start Planning Early
You might be a go-getter who typically plans your Thanksgiving menu a week or two in advance. But if you’re aiming to have a truly plastic-free dinner, you may need to start planning even earlier.
Make a list of all of the dishes you want to include in your meal, along with decoration ideas, serving dishes needed, and anything else you’ll need to make the day special. Then start thinking about which items typically come in plastic packaging—and how you’ll alter your plans to avoid it. Consider choosing seasonal produce like squash, pumpkins, spinach, and beans to lower your environmental impact and enjoy food at its peak flavor.
2. Head to the Bulk Aisle
Many grocery stores offer pre-packaged produce and other ingredients, giving you no chance to use your own, reusable storage options. But you can avoid the conundrum by shopping at a grocery store that has plenty of bulk fruits, vegetables, and pantry staples.
Then, instead of using plastic bags to purchase groceries, opt for using your own reusable bags or even glass jars. (Most stores will allow you to zero out the scale before filling the container so you can get an accurate price calculation.)
3. Order From Restaurants
Ordering food from restaurants is an excellent hack for any holiday, whether you’re going plastic-free or not. This cuts down on your preparation time while still having the chance to wow your guests with delicious food.
Plus, restaurants typically use paper boxes rather than plastic containers found in grocery stores. So go for it without shame—head to your favorite restaurant to pick up a pie, cake, side dish, or even a salad dressing or cranberry sauce.
4. Skip the Disposable Tableware
If you’re hosting a crowd, you may be tempted to set out the plastic cups, straws, and utensils and call it a day. After all, it’ll save you some work when it comes time to clean up, right? However, plastic utensils and paper plates are a major source of waste. Instead, choose reusable tableware, which is better for the environment and fancier for the holiday occasion.
Don’t have enough table settings for everyone? Check out a thrift store to add to your collection without breaking the bank. Remember to pick up some cloth napkins and eco-friendly straws as well. And when it’s time to do the dishes? Enlist the help of your guests for some added quality time.
5. Decorate with Compostable Materials
Those plastic pumpkins, corn stalks, and turkeys may seem like a cheap and easy Thanksgiving decor option, but they’re harmful to the environment. So pass on the plastic decor and pick up some compostable, recycled, or upcycled items instead.
Think mini pumpkins, dried corn, fresh flowers, or even trimmings from your own backyard. Decorating doesn’t have to be expensive to look beautiful. And when you’re done, you can easily compost the materials.
6. Ask Guests to Bring Reusable Containers
It wouldn’t be a proper Thanksgiving feast without loads of leftovers. But don’t pile those goodies into one-time-use plastic containers! Go the environmentally friendly route by asking guests to bring their own reusable glass containers for taking home leftovers. You’ll be making the green choice, and you won’t have to worry about getting your containers back later.
Get More Eco-Friendly Tips from Kiwi Energy
Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to learning how to have a plastic-free Thanksgiving. And hey—before you know it, you might even become a zero-waste chef.
If you’re looking for more ways to have an eco-friendly holiday season, check out Kiwi Energy. We’re providing innovative energy solutions for electricity and natural gas supply, helping to promote a green planet and sustainable future.