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Thanksgiving is one of the best American holidays. It brings families together, encourages everyone to be more appreciative and be grateful for the things (tangible and otherwise) they have, and is pretty much the kick off for the winter holiday season. Thanksgiving is all about tradition as well, and while not everything about our holiday traditions are sustainable, these tips should help you become more mindful about certain practices and, perhaps, establish new traditions.

  1. Ditch the Styrofoam
    Nobody likes to wash dishes. Thus, for those hosting, getting paper and/or styrofoam products is much less of a headache. But they can also be quite toxic. Ditch the disposables and use real plates and silverware for your dinner. If you don’t have a dishwasher, consider enlisting help from your visitors or divvy up the work amongst family, as chores that would be done for any other day. This is a rather simple gesture which builds great habits.
  2. Expand Your Menu
    Thanksgiving is synonymous with turkey; it is one the staple menu items across many American cultures. While being fully sustainable would mean foregoing the turkey and other meat products, that may be asking a bit much with just a week away. Instead, I would recommend adding more veggies to the plate, instead of focusing solely on meat. Where possible, purchase local (or close to it) and in-season products.
  3. Waste Not, Want Not
    40 percent of all food in America goes to waste. Celebrations like Thanksgiving is one of the largest contributors to this problem. Thus, get a solid count for guests, create a menu, and buy only what you need for the holiday. Additionally, Encourage people to judge portions appropriately and not to take more food than they plan to eat. The idiom of one’s eyes being larger than his/her stomach can be especially true during feasts. Such a problem leads to waste.
  4. Clean Green
    When it comes to cleaning, establish a practice of recycling for items than can be reused. Choose rags and cloth towels instead of paper ones as well as environmentally safe products like the ones listed in this blog.

Each of these tips is really simple to implement and a positive start for the holidays. In establishing these new practices, you set a precedent for your children to follow them as well, leading to a better, brighter, safer future for all.  Have a pleasant and Happy Thanksgiving!