Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with it comes family, friends, food, and waste, lots and lots of waste. While you certainly don’t want to skip out on festivities and precious time you have with loved ones, there are a few things you can do to help cut down on the waste you create—without skipping your plans, or cutting down the invitations to your holiday celebrations.

Show the earth you’re thankful for it by checking out these sustainable Thanksgiving tips.

1. Eat Local and Organic

The further your food has to travel on Thanksgiving the more it impacts the environment. Choosing to purchase local, organic foods and free-range animals not only makes for a sustainable Thanksgiving, it also tastes better. Look for local items that are seasonal like apples, pumpkins, potatoes, or even locally made breads and cheeses.

2. Make What You Need

While Thanksgiving is centered on having a beautiful meal and usually involves eating a ton of food, it doesn’t have to be a gut-busting celebration to make it memorable. To create a more sustainable Thanksgiving, be mindful of what you eat, and what your guests can reasonably consume to reduce waste.

Yes, most people look forward to Thanksgiving leftovers, but encouraging people to at least finish what they put on their plate will give you more leftovers and reduce how much food ends up in the trash. As a pro tip—using smaller plates can encourage people to finish what’s on their plate and reduces the amount of food likely to end up in the trash.

3. Store Leftovers Sustainably

Swapping reusable glass containers for plastic when storing your leftovers will help you create a more sustainable Thanksgiving. Plus, glass is microwave safe so there’s no need to worry about BPAs and Phthalates ending up in your food.

4. Compost Leftover Food

If you must toss out leftover food, composting is an excellent Thanksgiving tip to help reduce waste. You might not realize it, but it’s not just the space this extra trash takes up in landfills—the methane it produces seriously affects the environment, even more than regular old carbon dioxide. Composting allows you to reduce methane emissions and helps you reap the benefits of composting in your garden down the road.

5. Ditch the Paper Plates

Yes, using paper plates and cups will save you time and energy when it comes to cleaning up after everyone has had their fill, but it’s one of the quickest ways to fill up your trash can on Thanksgiving. Instead, get out your real plates, silverware, glasses, and napkins for a more sustainable Thanksgiving meal. You might even encourage everyone to quickly toss any leftovers in the compost bin, rinse their plate, and pop it in the dishwasher before dessert to save time down the road.

6. Turn Down the Heat

With all the cooking you’re doing and all the people in your home, it’s likely to be warmer than usual anyway, so take the opportunity to turn the thermostat down a few degrees and save a little energy.

7. Use Natural Decorations

We all love decorations that remind us of the holiday season and what we’re thankful for. A great Thanksgiving tip for a sustainable Thanksgiving is to use decorations you find in nature. Think berries, pumpkins, squash, leaves, and other natural elements that give some serious fall vibes and create a cozy look to your home.

8. Use Natural Smells

Your home will smell amazing while you cook, but if you want to add some extra fall scents consider doing a simple simmer pot on your stove with some cinnamon and orange peels. If you’re in love with candles, look for ones made from soy or vegetable wax that create less soot when burned.

9. Go Vegetarian

Or at least cut down on the amount of meat you serve. Meat production is a leading source of methane gas emissions which is more damaging than carbon dioxide to the environment. Try choosing smaller amounts of meat and incorporating more vegetables and fruits into your Thanksgiving meal to make it more sustainable.

10. Keep It Simple

At the end of the day, it’s the time with loved ones and friends that matters most. Cutting out the extra by not overdoing your food or rushing around in cars can help you enjoy your Thanksgiving a little more and reduce your impact on the environment.

A Sustainable Future

Creating a sustainable Thanksgiving is great, but to really make an impact it’s important to reduce waste and live sustainably every day of the year. Spring Power & Gas helps customers offset their carbon use by investing in green energy sources. Contact us today to find out how you can contribute to a more sustainable future.