Greening Your Thanksgiving Celebration

You opt for reusable bags instead of plastic, lead the whole family in recycling efforts, and even go out of your way to shop at locally owned stores, so why not incorporate green living concepts into your holiday planning as well? There are many fun and creative ways to plan an Eco-friendly Thanksgiving, most of which can also save you time and money. You can feel good about your overall impact when you plan your Thanksgiving based on these environmentally conscious tips.

Decor: Resist the store-bought, disposable decorations; instead take a walk outside and let nature provide some inspiration. Gather pine cones, multicolored leaves, and acorns and arrange them along with corn or gourds to create a beautiful centerpiece for your table. Avoid typical wax candles as they’re usually made with animal fats and non-renewable petroleum. Instead, create a glow with candles made from soy or beeswax, such as those made locally by The Green Bottle Candle Company.

Keep it local: Stay true to the spirit of the first Thanksgiving by enjoying a meal proudly made

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with foods grown locally. It’s not unusual to find area farmers still selling produce at roadside stands well into the cooler months. If shopping for items at your local grocery store, choose foods grown locally, or at best, regionally, rather than those that have been trucked in from across the U.S., or flown in from another country. The Freshfully market, located in Avondale, has a great selection of local Alabama grown foods and more. 

The Turkey: When most people think of Thanksgiving dinner, visions of succulent, golden brown turkey are usually what come to mind. Yet, nowadays, many people are choosing to avoid meat altogether for a variety of reasons. Yet this doesn’t mean you must opt for the same old boring tofu recipe. Spend some time browsing the Web or look through an assortment or vegetarian or vegan cookbooks to help you find decide on the perfect alternative main course. If you do decide to serve turkey, however, choose one that has been raised without the use of antibiotics.

Leftovers: Typically the mention of leftovers evokes bodily cringes and turned up noses, but not when it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers! This is the one time each year when most people intentionally cook too much food so there will be ample leftovers available in the days following Thanksgiving. As you select particular side dishes to accompany your holiday meal, give a little forethought to how you’ll expand your Thanksgiving leftovers. Get creative and transform mashed potatoes into a sumptuous Shepherds Pie, or turn leftover cranberry relish into a tantalizing CranberryCitrus Sorbet. When freezing leftover turkey, make sure to de-bone and slice the meat into proper sized portions depending on how much you’ll need for future meals. Prepping as much as possible ahead of time will save you time and energy down the road. For more ideas on how to make the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers, visit websites such as Epicurious.com, where you can browse Thanksgiving Leftovers: The Ultimate Guide for a huge selection of potential recipes and other ideas.

Compost: Occasionally, there is that one Thanksgiving dish that doesn’t wow the crowd, and definitely won’t be accompanying the likes of other, more appealing leftovers in the following days. Yet, before you toss it in the trash and send it off to a local landfill, consider composting.  Organic matter brought to the landfill tends to be quickly covered with other waste and is forced to begin the decomposition process without oxygen. This method of breakdown produces methane, a damaging greenhouse gas. Tossing leftovers consisting of organic material into a compost pile allows the matter to begin decomposing with the benefit of oxygen, which therefore prevents any production of methane gas. Check out our Composting 101 guide for simple step by step instructions on how you can begin creating your own backyard compost pile in no time at all.

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