How to Cook a Sustainable Thanksgiving Dinner

Here are some tips for a more sustainable, Earth-friendly Thanksgiving dinner:

  1. Buy local food. So many delicious Thanksgiving foods are made of fruits and vegetables. If possible, buy locally grown produce. Think about where those green beans, yams, corn, and even rolls came from. See if you can buy a local, farm-raised, free-range turkey. Or don’t buy a turkey at all. That cranberry jelly you like so much? Instead of making it yourself, or getting it from a can, see if you can buy a jar from a local producer.
  2. Consume less. The holidays are a prime time for overconsumption (a major contributor to our environmental problems). Don’t buy too much food. Purchase just enough for the members of your dinner party, with maybe one day’s worth of leftovers for each person. Think about it. Do you really need to eat three helpings of everything? You just end up feeling ill. Plus, you’ll inevitably get tired of eating the same leftovers for ten days after Turkey Day. So cut back! It’s only logical.
  3. Use the good china. Don’t use paper plates or napkins or plastic cutlery. Use the good china, the silverware, and the nice linen napkins. Not only will your meal feel more elegant, but you will be saving space in landfills!
  4. Compost your scraps. When everyone is done eating, have them scrape their scraps into a bin you can dump into your compost pile in the backyard. Because you obviously already have one, right?
  5. Recycle. Of course, I know you already do this, but don’t forget to recycle your soda cans, aluminum cans, and cardboard boxes.
  6. Stay home. Don’t travel far for Thanksgiving dinner. Stay close to home and spend the day with friends and family that live close to you. You’ll save gas, money, and time. And you won’t have to deal with a road trip with the kids. But obviously, the most important benefit is that your environmental impact will be less than if you did travel.
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