Tips for a more sustainable Thanksgiving

Waste in American increases between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Sustainability Now News
by Maryann Ridini Spencer (@MaryannRidiniSpencer)

“I generally go to a friend’s for Thanksgiving, and one of my favorite tricks for keeping it sustainable is to bring my contribution dish in a container that doubles as a leftover box. This saves a dish from being washed and the host from loaning one of theirs,” said Michelle Stevens, Founder, The Refill Shoppe, a bath body home & clean store located in Downtown Ventura that promotes container reuse.

“Whenever I have friends and family over for Thanksgiving, I always use real plates, silverware, and napkins that I can wash and reuse,” said Kim Pagano, radio host of 1590 KVTA AM’s The Kim Pagano Show. “This helps us do our part to save water.”

“One way I keep sustainable at the holidays is to send electronic invites when I’m hosting an event,” said Diane de Mailly, local business owner, President of DDM Metering Systems and NAWBO Ventura. “This saves on paper and other natural resources.”

Waste in American households increases more than 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Below are additional ideas on how you can join local business owners and residents in helping to contribute to the sustainability of our community.

Make a list and check it twice

Take a tip from good ole Santa and always shop your cabinets and make a list before you leave the house for the market. Bring your reusable bags for grocery transport (and keep some extra in your car’s trunk in case you require additional bags).

Enjoy leftovers in soups, casseroles, smoothies, and other dishes

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the leftovers. “To stay sustainable, I think of creative ways to use leftovers. There is nothing worse than throwing out food,” said Ashley Pope, owner of Downtown Ventura’s Spice-Topia, a specialty spice and tea store. “Flavored olive oil and a nice spice blend can turn leftover meat and veggies into something completely new. There is a lot of great ideas on, too.”

To help avoid contributing to our crowded landfills, enjoy leftovers in sandwiches, omelets, smoothies, soups, and other recipes. You can also freeze items to use for a later date. Put single portions or amounts you know you will use in containers for easy use.

Compost your scraps

Since up to 50% of food in the U.S. goes to waste each year, when it becomes trash it releases methane gas and contributes to global warming. That’s why a viable solution for you and the environment is to compost your leftovers and scraps. Composting also increases the nutrient density of your soil. Compost bins are available in all sizes (to use in your kitchen or yard).

Fill your dishwasher and laundry machine

Run your dishwasher and laundry machines only when they are full. Be sure to scrape food residue (vs. rinse) off your plates before loading them in your machine. The EPA states that running the dishwasher when it’s full can eliminate one load of dishes per week and save the average family nearly 320 gallons of water annually.

Purchase organic goods from a local certified farmer’s market

By choosing locally grown organic foods, you are helping to prevent the usage of millions of pounds of poisonous pesticides and fertilizers and emission of greenhouse gas emissions. Eating fresh and local also tastes better.

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