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5 Simple Ways to Celebrate a Greener Thanksgiving

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 and decorating as well?

There are loads of great, creative ways to plan a greener Thanksgiving celebration, most of which will also save you time and money. Get inspired this holiday season and feel good about making a greater impact with these eco-holiday tips !

996067_10201566741463134_996128752_nDecor: Resist the store-bought, disposable decorations; instead take a walk outside and let nature provide some inspiration. Make it a family activity and gather pine cones, multicolored leaves, and acorns and arrange them along with corn or gourds to create a beautiful centerpiece for your table. Try to 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 with foods grown locally. It’s not unusual to find area farmers still selling produce at roadside stands well into the cooler months, especially in our area. 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. Check out our article on where to find local and organic foods in Birmingham. 

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. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to stick with 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. However, if you do decide to serve turkey, try to choose one that has been raised without added antibiotics.

Leftovers: There are usually no other leftovers as welcome as Thanksgiving leftovers! This is the one time each year when most people intentionally cook extra food specifically to yield enough to last for several days beyond the holiday.

When planning your Thanksgiving menu, give a little forethought as to how you’ll expand your side dishes and more. Get creative and transform mashed potatoes into a sumptuous Shepherds Pie, or turn leftover cranberry relish into a delicious 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. 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.

What are some of your favorite eco-holiday tips?

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