Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

sustainable thanksgiving gatherings

Am I the only one who feels like Thanksgiving should be tomorrow!? It's completely throwing me off, man! Not to mention that it jips us of some of the Christmas season, and I cannot have a short Christmas season! Sorry not sorry I'll be decorating the house before Thanksgiving. I have too many great Pinterest crafts that need to be properly displayed. And I've been blaring Christmas music and watching Christmas movies for a week now, so there's that.

Oh right, back to what we're here for. How to make your Thanksgiving more eco-friendly!


Since food is the main part of most Thanksgiving celebrations, let's get your bases covered. Shop locally for your meats and vegetables. Local products don't have to travel as far, saving on energy and gas costs. And shopping local keeps more money in your city. Visit your farmer's market before the big day and stock up on as much produce for your dishes as you can. If you're in a city with a large farmer's market, you may even be able to buy your meat there!

Funny side story about "local" meats. A few years ago, I was spending a week with my best friend in Massachusetts. We were driving around this quaint, picturesque small town killing time before a Hanson concert when my friend suddenly slammed on her brakes and cracked up laughing. When I looked up I saw three turkeys crossing the road right in front of us. Had she not reacted so quickly, we would've had a large Thanksgiving dinner in her car…in July. Which I would guess is about as local as you can get. I do please request that you not kill your Thanksgiving dinner with your car.

And if you can't get what you need from a local company, look for organic products that were kinder to the environment during production. When you go shopping, don't forget your reusable bags in your trunk!

If you're having a small dinner, skip disposable dinnerware and cutlery altogether, and just use what you have. If you're having a larger gathering and don't have enough place settings for everyone, look into getting sustainable dinner party supplies, such as the ones from Susty Party. Be sure to cover everything from plates and bowls, to cutlery and cups, to napkins. If you're pressed for time and need disposable dinnerware, look for items made of bamboo or recycled plastic. If you buy regular plastic dishes, make sure they are recyclable, and ask guests not to throw them away, but to put them by the sink so they can be rinsed for recycling. Just don't use anything styrofoam!

Now, to set the table. Look for organic or sustainable-material tablecloths and placemats, such as ones from Rawganique or BambEco. Some great sustainable materials are bamboo, hemp or burlap. Or get creative and use items from around your house. You could use a nice bed sheet that's not already serving a purpose. Or if you're extra Cajun, just throw some newspaper down on the table. To us, a plastic folding table set up outside with newspaper on top certainly means great food is about to be eaten. 

Put out soy or vegetable wax candles instead of traditional paraffin ones. Choose flowers or plants from a local nursery – or your own yard! (but not your neighbor's!) – instead of ones from the grocery store. You could also decorate with other items found around your house and yard and keep the decor very earthy.

And as you always should, be sure to recycle everything that's recyclable. Put out one or two clearly marked recycling bins where people will see and use them. If you've got a compost pile or bin, throw in what food scraps you can.

If you're a guest at someone else's house, bring a local or organic bottle of wine for the hosts. Fetzer is one of my favorite wines, and it's partly due to their efforts in being a sustainable vineyard. You can also look for the Eco Glass label on many different bottles of wine. Eco Glass uses 25% less glass than traditional wine bottles, saving materials and shipping weight, which saves in fuel consumption for delivery trucks. 

If you're traveling, then take steps to make your travel greener, from making sure your vehicle's tires are properly inflated to taking an empty (per TSA's guidelines; you can fill them up after the security checkpoint) reusable water bottle on your plane trip. 

And if anyone is making green bean casserole, save me a heaping portion and a seat at your table. THANKS!

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