Tips for a Sustainable Thanksgiving - Is eating turkey bad for the environment?
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- 21 Nov, 2022
Tips for a Sustainable Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a fun time of year when friends and family get together around a large table filled with fresh foods to express gratitude for the things they have in their lives. Let's express our gratitude for the abundance that our natural environment offers.
Here are some tips to give back by reducing your impact.
Buy Recyclable or Compostable. Since plastic is bad for the environment, there are several eco-friendly alternatives for food storage that can be used for meal preparation, leftovers, and serving. Use your own glass or ceramic dishes, a set of stainless steel containers, or a set of recyclable plates in place of stocking up on disposable plastic forks, plates, and cups.
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Plan it out. Planning ahead for your meal is the best way to cut down on holiday waste. The USDA estimates that the average family throws away $1,500 worth of food each year. Make sure to only purchase the products and resources you actually need for Thanksgiving in order to reduce food waste and keep costs down.
Make the most of the meal. Even with careful planning, you'll probably have leftovers from the holiday. Make the most of your leftovers by incorporating them into fresh dishes. You can transform those leftovers to become something more than just a turkey sandwich.
Include recipes that are friendly to the environment. Meat substitutions for fruits, vegetables, and grains can cut down on the carbon footprint of your diet. This Thanksgiving, you might want to consider a vegetarian alternative. Try vegetarian and vegan sides if you decide to keep the turkey.
Going completely meatless may not be for everyone, but even cutting back on your meat and dairy intake can help the environment and improve your health, including significantly lowering your risk for heart disease. Pesticides and antibiotics are found in large quantities in the waste produced by turkey farms, which is then flushed into streams and rivers, contaminating our water supply. Turkeys are much heavier than, say, chickens, so more fuel is required to transport them, in addition to the tons of waste these factories produce.
Save the scraps. Yard garbage and food waste account up roughly 30% of the waste sent to landfills, according to the EPA. By keeping food scraps and yard trash out of landfills, which release methane, composting protects the environment. The dry pieces of bread, fruit peels, and leftover vegetable scraps are all excellent additions to your home compost or organic waste bin. There are lots of fun DIY composting ideas to try and composting food scraps minimizes energy needed to process your waste.
Take public transportation or carpool. If you intend to travel this Thanksgiving, use public transportation or carpool to reduce carbon emissions and avoid the congested holiday traffic.
Keep it neat. When recycling plastic bottles or jars, metal and aluminum cans, cardboard and more, it’s important that your items are empty, clean and dry. Recyclables must be empty, clean and dry to prevent the contamination of other recyclables in the collection truck and at the recycling processing center.
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