Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I’m super excited. It’s one of my favorite holidays! It’s all about friends, family, good food and gratitude.
As we enter the holiday season, I’m thinking about crunching leaves underfoot, pumpkin everything, hot tea, friends, family, gratitude and… waste.
Thanksgiving (and holidays in general) can be extremely wasteful – leftover food that doesn’t get eaten, disposable dishware, and all those decorations destined for the landfill.
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, there’s a lot to think about. The menu, grocery shopping, cleaning up the house. But can I throw one more thing on your plate, so to speak? Think about reducing waste.
I know it’s one extra thing on your already full plate, but check out our EASY tips below for ideas on planning a zero waste Thanksgiving. You’ll likely find many of these tips to be simple swaps and can make your Thanksgiving more enjoyable!
Zero Waste Thanksgiving Tips
- Keep the menu simple. Less food to prepare means less food wasted.
- Don’t be afraid to ask guests to bring a dish.
- Prep dishes in advance like: Bread (to eat, for stuffing), Broth (super easy and freezes great), salad dressings, pumpkin puree (can be frozen until you’re ready to use it)
- Shop local farmers markets for groceries (if possible) and bring your own reusable grocery bags.
- Reconsider the turkey – opt for turkey breast (especially if you’re serving a small group) or try a veggie-forward meal. If you serve meat with bones, save the bones for stock.
- Serve smaller portions and grab seconds if you’re still hungry.
- Use reusable (aka regular) plates and dishware – they look prettier anyway!. And pass out cloth napkins instead of paper towels.
- Borrow instead of buying new. Don’t have enough dishes, chairs, etc.? Borrow from friends or family instead of buying new. If you can’t borrow, look for second hand – thrift shops often have beautiful dishware to add to your collection.
- Forage for decorations -pumpkins, leaves, acorns, dried grasses, real flowers and gordes make beautiful fall-inspired decorations.
- Cook with reusable cookware instead of disposable aluminum pans. These can easily double as serving dishes. Don’t have the items you need? Borrow from a friend or family member.
- Plan the meal with leftovers in mind. Leftovers are great, but too many will result in wasted food and money down the drain. Make just enough for you and your guests, and encourage them to bring their own to-go containers! Everybody loves a Thanksgiving goodie bag! 🙂
- Repurpose leftovers so they don’t go to waste, or freeze to enjoy later. Try our Epic CranTurkey Sandwich, add cranberry sauce to oatmeal, use up turkey and potatoes in a soup, or make a shepherds pie with leftover mashed potatoes.
- Have your compost ready and labeled. It’s always great to have a helping hand in the kitchen for meal prep and clean up, but make sure your guests know where the compost is so food doesn’t end up in the trash.
- Save veggie scraps and giblets for stock, use stale bread in your stuffing, and roast those scooped out squash seeds for a crunchy snack.
Want more tips to reduce your food waste? We’ve got you covered. Find more tips on reducing food waste here.