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A Sustainable Thanksgiving Table

POSTED UNDER Home & Garden

Tips for Hosting an Eco-friendly Holiday Dinner

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and of course, food. Try some of our tips to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in a more sustainable way.

Use eco-friendly decorations. If you enjoy decorating your home with fresh wreaths or floral arrangements, buy organic plants or use live succulents that help keep your air fresh. Use the turkey as your centerpiece, or get crafty with reused materials. See the decorative bottles Macy’s Associate Jennifer McCloud makes.

Cut down on food waste. The EPA estimates that “every year, approximately 31 percent (133 billion pounds) of the overall U.S. food supply is wasted, which impacts food security, resource conservation and contributes to the 18 percent of total U.S. methane emissions that come from landfills.” Choose recipes that have similar ingredients so you buy less and use more of what you buy. You also can narrow down the number of dishes you’ll serve and encourage smaller portions by providing smaller serving spoons or plating the food for your guests to help cut down on food waste.

Consider your food sources. As budgets and resources allow, try to buy food that’s local, organic and/or as sustainable as you can. These days, food is traveling much further than your relatives. According to the Worldwatch Institute, “in the United States, food now travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to table, as much as 25 percent farther than two decades ago.” Check out your local farmer’s market and choose ingredients that are in season – so they don’t have to travel as far.

Talk about your turkey. There are a vast amount of turkey options, especially at Thanksgiving. Many times, small, local farmers are the most humane and eco-friendly option, but do your research to find out which combination of local, heritage, organic, non-GMO-fed, pasture-raised poultry is best and available in your area. The World Resource Institute says turkey and other poultry need less land and require lower greenhouse gas emissions than beef or lamb. However, you might also consider a hearty, vegetarian dish for your dinner table.

Use less energy when you cook. The U.S. Department of Energy has a lot of energy-saving cooking tips on their website. It says that on average, you'll use 20 percent less energy each month running a convection oven compared to a standard oven. It also suggests buying appliances with the ENERGY STAR® seal of approval or cooking with smaller appliances, such as toaster ovens, microwaves and slow cookers, to use significantly less energy.

Skip paper products. No one likes trying to cut turkey with a plastic knife. Use reusable plates, glasses and napkins. Don’t have enough table settings for a big group? Consider dinnerware, such as reusable Preserve plates that are made from recycled plastics.

Have a plan for extra food. If you can’t use extra ingredients or have leftovers on Thanksgiving Day, research out how to best store them after (i.e., freezing, canning, drying) or find post-holiday recipes to use them up. If you can’t, instead of tossing table scraps and leftovers in the trash, try composting them. Start your own composting bin and your garden will thank you in the spring.

Go green to clean. For the cleanup after dinner, have natural cleaning products on hand that are kind to the environment, you and your guests. You’ll have a beautiful, clean kitchen without a ton of harmful chemicals.

Share with others. With Black Friday around the corner, help us promote the Macy’s Thanks For Sharing holiday rewards program. It raises funds for a number of charitable organizations. In 2016 alone, we raised $15 million to support charitable organizations across the country. Since 2003, Thanks For Sharing has raised more than $171 million. Read our latest Report on Social Responsibility or Mblog for more details.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to give thanks and show appreciation for others. We’d like to thank you and all of our Associates who read and support Green Living and help take care of our environment.

Have a tip for making Thanksgiving Day more sustainable? Share it with us.


You also might like:

This Thanksgiving – Feed People, Not Landfills 
Associate Spotlight: Jennifer McCloud
Make Your Tailgate Sustainable

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