Thanksgiving is celebrated as a time for fun, family and appreciation, but all too often it’s also a time for excessive waste – from unused leftovers to single-use plastic ware. Here are our tips to making this Thanksgiving a sustainable one, without missing out on the fun.
Every Thanksgiving, over 90 million kilos of turkey gets thrown out in the United States alone and household waste shoots up by around 25% at this time of year. But it’s not just food wastage, we’re also going through an excessive amount of plastic too – and not just during the festive times. Here in Australia, these plastics make up 60% of our litter with around 40% of that number winding up in our oceans and waterways where it destroys ecosystems and endangers marine life. Around the world plastic pollution poses a major threat to our environment, with 8 trillion tonnes of plastic entering our oceans every year and a resulting 100, 000 deaths of marine life. Here’s how you can make a few easy changes to lower your carbon footprint.
Nix the plastic
We know how annoying doing the washing up can be when you’re hosting a particularly large group of friends, family and extended relatives, but using reusable cutlery and plates instead of single-use plastics is one of the best ways to prevent wastage. It’s also worth using cloth napkins instead of tissues and paper napkins to ensure you’re not throwing out excessive amounts of waste this Thanksgiving. Here are a few more tips for when you’re at the shops:
- Avoid the plastic fruit and veggie bags: Instead of using plastic bags to place your produce in, just pop them straight into your basket or bring your own reusable bags.
- Buy locally-sourced, organic produce: The less travel your food undergoes before landing at your supermarket, the lower the environmental strain. Markets are great places to find local produce.
Choose your recipes wisely
If no one ever touches the liver pâté, maybe leave it off the menu this year to save yourself a heap of wasted food. It also helps to make your recipes from scratch where possible, and this is because ready-made foods like sauces, frozen meals and stocks use up a lot of energy with over 80% of greenhouse gas emissions from our food stemming from the production process. That’s why the least amount of processing your food has undergone, the better it is for the environment.
If you’re looking for delicious recipes that won’t cost the earth – or your savings – check out our new Thanksgiving cookbook HERE. It’s loaded with 34 fun recipes that transport you back to those childhood family feasts – minus the sugar crash, of course!
We've got mains, sides, desserts and festive drinks to mark the occasion; just take a look for yourself at some of the exciting recipes that await you:
- Pumpkin spice lattes
- Crispy roast chook
- Stupidly simple turkey
- Pumpkin pie fudge
- Pecan pie
- Pumpkin ginger spice granola
Check for ingredients before shopping
Before hitting the shops, it’s worth checking your fridge and cupboards for any ingredients you already have so you don’t double up. You might find some of the foods on your list are collecting dust in the back of your pantry or even sitting there in plain view.
If you’re planning on cooking up a turkey – as is the tradition – it’s worth considering some alternative, plant-based options. Meat products require up to 40 times as many crops to produce than what they provide. So, if you’re willing to reduce your turkey consumption or even take it off the menu, this is one way to slash your carbon footprint. Otherwise, go for free-range, organic brands. It’s also worth making the most of any leftovers you have, you may even want to tailor your recipes to foods you’ve already got like last night’s veggies or frozen soup stock.
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