A green Thanksgiving dinner starts with choosing organic vegetables, free range meats or vegetarian/vegan dishes, and offering organic wines and beverages to your guests. Take it a step further this holiday and host a no-waste Thanksgiving dinner that cuts down and excess waste and keeps trash out of the landfill.
No-Waste Green Thanksgiving Dinner: The Turkey
The bones and innards of a turkey are usually considered waste on Thanksgiving, but if you’re dedicated to a no-waste green Thanksgiving, then use these items to make more dishes. The bones can be boiled for hours to create a turkey broth. Freeze it until you need it or use it flavor the stuffing. Use the innards to flavor your homemade gravy.
If you don’t want to cut the labor from your Thanksgiving meal and keep it no-waste at the same time, opt out of the turkey altogether. Making a vegan or vegetarian meal can help you to cut down on meat waste that can’t be composted.
No-Waste Green Thanksgiving Dinner: Consider the Packaging
When you’re buying what you need to make the sides, head to the bulk bins first. Bring re-usable storage containers and note their weight before you fill them up with your ingredients so that you won’t pay extra at the register. For everything that doesn’t come in bulk, choose items that have reusable packaging you can later use to store leftovers or decorate for a post-Thanksgiving craft with the kids.
If you have enough time and there are ingredients on your list that only come in large quantities when you just need a little bit, ask neighbors or friends if they have the item in their pantry and save a little money while cutting down on waste at the same time.
No-Waste Green Thanksgiving Dinner: Linens and the Good Dishes
Resist the urge to use paper napkins or disposable plates, cups and silverware during your Thanksgiving celebration. Though many people actually have a set of dishes that they usually only for occasions like this, they still opt for the easy disposable items for snacking, appetizers and Thanksgiving dessert or breakfast in hopes of saving time. If you want a no-waste Thanksgiving, have everyone wash their plates.
No-Waste Green Thanksgiving Dinner: Compost and Recycle
No matter how hard you try, you’re going to have some things leftover that simply aren’t salvageable. Compost all food items that are not meat or dairy based, including the ends of the vegetables chopped up and used in salads and side dishes. Recycle packaging as you cook and don’t forget to round out your no-waste green Thanksgiving dinner by using biodegradable soaps and cleansers to wash the dishes and wipe down the counters.