Ahhh, the holidays are upon us and we will soon be embarking on a cooking and eating marathon that will carry us till the new year. There is something wonderful about holiday meals that brings people together, physically and emotionally, in ways nothing else does. The paradox about holidays, that are so much about giving, is that they are also very wasteful, Thanksgiving in particular – it is one of the most wasteful times of the year. This year, lets be thankful not wasteful.
The National Resources Defense Council estimates that during Thanksgiving last year, Americans wasted about 102 thousand tons of turkey alone, which is only a fraction of the estimated 5 million tons of food in total that Americans toss between Thanksgiving and New Year. Isn’t it ironic? Ironically, being wasteful is contrary to being thankful if you think about it. There was a time in history when very little went to waste because food was hard to come by, so every morsel had value. Now there is very little connection or even awareness of where our food comes from. Meat and vegetables come from the supermarket, right? Perhaps it’s time for us to rediscover a waste-free Thanksgiving. It doesn’t have to be the horn-of-plenty-of-waste! The good thing is it’s not difficult, but it does require us to retrain our brain to be more mindful about eliminating waste, or better yet, not creating it in the first place. Dominique Drakeford, an environmental educator and a founder of Sustainable Brooklyn, reminds us that living waste-free is “progress over perfection.” Here are some easy ways to be thankful not wasteful and make your Thanksgiving as waste-free as possible. 7 Easy Waste-free Options
1. Use local ingredients that are in season rather than making traditional foods that have to be transported from other states or countries. Shop your farmers market to find what’s fresh and in season. 2. Use nature to decorate your table such as autumn leaves, pinecones, or vines. Include items that are edible such as fruit, gourds, and squash. 3. Use reusable table service, not disposables. Real plates, bowls, glasses and flatware reduces waste, but also celebrates the meal and the gathering that paper and plastic can never do. Not enough reusables for everyone? Ask others to bring some as well or visit your local thrift shops for extras. 4. Prepare dishes that reflect your heritage, not necessarily those that are mass produced for the holidays. And leave dishes off the menu if they are barely touched year after year, but you keep making it just because its tradition. 5. Use meat and veggie scraps to make stock which can be poured into ice-cube trays or other small containers and frozen. 6. Consider a plant-based dinner – there’s no law requiring turkey or ham. 7. Recycle and compost everything possible (see our blog on recycling). Repurpose those leftovers for another great meal or snack. To help with storing those leftovers, we have some great sustainable and waste-free options at ELM445.biz!We hope you try at least of few of these waste-free ideas for your gathering this year, most importantly choosing reusables to eat, drink and decorate with. Remember, its about progress not perfection. Wishing you and yours a happy, meaningful, and fulfilling Thanksgiving! Sustainably yours, The ELM445™ Team P.S. We’d love your feedback on these articles. You can login to your account, go to this article (or any of our other blog articles you’ve read) and leave a review. You can also leave comments to share your waste-free successes if you like. And please add your product reviews as well. We will be most thankful!