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Green Thanksgiving Tips

November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving is this week! As you start making your holiday plans, be sure to thank Mother Nature by making your Thanksgiving an eco-friendly affair with these green Thanksgiving tips:

Use the slow cooker. Instead of heating your oven to prepare your Thanksgiving feast, why not try your slow cooker instead? According to Planet Green: “When compared to a conventional oven which uses 2.7 pounds of CO2 for one hour of use, a slow cooker uses .9 pounds of CO2 for seven hours of use.” Think of how much of an impact we could make if we used our slow cooker more often! Not sure what to make? Here are some terrific Thanksgiving slow cooker recipes from Mother Nature Network.

Carpool. According to Use Less Stuff, if each family reduced holiday gasoline consumption by 1 gallon (about 20 miles), we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million tons. Consider carpooling to Grandma’s house or if it is close enough, walk or bike. Save fossil fuels and burn off some of that dinner at the same time.

Headed out of town?  Check your air filter and make sure your tires are fully inflated before hitting the road; you’ll reduce your carbon emissions and get better gas mileage.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Waste. Of course when we think of Thanksgiving, we think of an abundant feast! But, don’t let the excess turn into waste. Plan out meals using leftovers for the rest of the holiday weekend or consider a smaller “feast” that will be completely consumed on Thanksgiving Day. Not sure what to do with your turkey carcass? Try making delicious organic turkey broth to use later this winter.

Use the good China and Silverware.  Regardless of whether you use  your finest china and silver or your everyday plates and flatware, avoid using disposable paper plates and cutlery. Opt for cloth napkins as well!

Use the Dishwasher Wisely. Dinner is over and now it’s time to clean-up. If you are like many people, you will be filling your dishwasher several times before getting all those piles of dishes clean. To save energy, be sure to run the dishwasher when full and don’t rinse the dishes with hot water. Instead scrape your food waste into the trash and compost what you can. Conserve even more energy by allowing your dishes to air dry instead of using the heat dry setting on your dishwasher. And of course, opt for a eco-friendly dishwasher detergent!

Avoid Plastic Wrap. Storing leftovers in the fridge or sending food home with guests? Don’t reach for the plastic wrap to protect that food! Plastic wrap is a single-use petroleum product, and contains PVC, a chemical that can leach into your food.Use glass containers instead or aluminum foil that can be recycled.

Decorate Naturally.  We all love a beautifully decorated table to celebrate with our family and friends. And why not decorate with the most beautiful items available from Mother Nature? Nothing says autumn more than beautiful fall leaves from your own backyard. Or how about pumpkins and gourds to create a festive look around the house? Get outside and get creative with decorating naturally.

Eat Green. Use locally sourced fruits and vegetables that are currently in season to cut down on the energy required to transport food from the field to your table. Traditional holiday meals are already stacked with seasonal fruits and veggies like pumpkins, apples, and cranberries that you can find at local farmer’s market.

Purchase or Borrow a Roasting Pan. Disposable roasting pans are inexpensive and readily available on grocery store shelves, especially this time of year. But if everyone in the United States used a disposable roasting pan to cook their Thanksgiving turkey, there would be 46 million tinfoil pans heading to the landfill every year. Instead, borrow or purchase a heavy-duty pan that can be reused year after year.

Turn down the thermostat. Between a house full of guests and a kitchen full of hot food, your house will more than likely be warm without the overuse of the thermostat. Turn your thermostat down 3-5 degrees – no one will notice the difference.

Use non-toxic household cleaners. When preparing your home for family and friends, be sure to clean with non-toxic, natural cleaners such as lemon and white vinegar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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