Wilfrid Laurier's Green Team

Thanksgiving is almost here! Here are some great tips to stay green while enjoying your autumn feast.

1. Buy local! Many of the vegetables you will need for your side dishes are probably grown within 100 miles of your home. Check out your local farmer’s market for fall goodies like squash, greens, potatoes, yams, pumpkins and evergreen herbs like rosemary and sage.

2. Collect and wash empty glass and plastic food containers — these are great for storing leftovers and can be back to university with you.

3. Keep decorations simple. Look around your backyard or farmers market for Thanksgiving holiday décor – crisp autumn leaves and gourds will make an excellent seasonal centerpiece. For more awesome ideas, check out this guide to hosting your own green holiday celebration.

4. Remember to compost any unwanted leftovers and food scraps and recycle all food packaging and beverage containers.

5. As always, skip the paper greeting cards. Instead, check out these free eco-friendly options from World Wildlife Fund and the Ocean Conservancy.

6.When you are running around picking up all your necessities for the big day, make sure you bring along reusable bags. See if you can reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying only as much as you need by choosing products that come in recyclable packaging.

7. Be Smart and consider how much food you are making and how long it will last. At least 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year (that is more than 100 pounds per person!). Use Less Stuff created a great list of approximate per person food and drink portions:

 

  • Turkey- 1 pound
  • Stuffing- ¼ pound
  • Sweet potato casserole- ¼ pound
  • Green beans- ¼ pound
  • Cranberry relish- 3 tablespoons
  • Pumpkin pie- 1/8 of a 9 inch pie

 

After the meal, check and see how much food is leftover and wether or not you will be able to realistically use all of it for leftovers-this gives you an idea of how much food to make next year.

8. Soy and beeswax candles are better for you and your guests because they are made of wax paraffin, (which, unlike regular candles will keep you from breathing in soot and chemicals such as volatile organic compounds and phalates). Soy candles also last longer, are biodegradable, are petroleum free and emit almost no smoke.

9. Run the dishwasher efficiently. Energy efficiency software company OPOWER recommends scraping plates first instead of rinsing them with hot water, and making sure the dishwasher is full every time you run it. Air drying your dishes and also avoiding specialty cycles like pre-rinse or rinse-hold cuts down on energy and saves you money.

10. Skip the plastic wrap. Plastic wrap is a single-use petroleum product, and contains PVC, a chemical that can leach into your food. Instead, store food in reusable containers and if you have to, aluminum foil is a greener choice because it can be recycled.

 

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