It’s that time of the year again where many families get together for Thanksgiving to enjoy delicious food and the beautiful array of colours the fall season has brought upon us.
Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays; it’s like Christmas without the stress of buying gifts. The whole family gets together to enjoy one another and an amazing sit down dinner. However, this dinner often brings dirty dishes, lots of leftovers, and increased waste!
This year, I think we should all try to celebrate Thanksgiving while practicing the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, and recycle. With a little extra effort and some helping hands, we can all feel good, not only about a satisfying dinner, but because of how little garbage we made!
Here are some easy tips for hosting an eco-friendly dinner:
- Get creative with your decorating. Are you looking for a beautiful centerpiece? Why not save some money and make your own from nature! Use a bowl with various gourds, small pumpkins and colourful leaves from outside. When Thanksgiving is over, these items can all go in Halton’s Yard Waste collection program. Or, get really inspired and create an entirely edible centerpiece.
- Place potted perennial flowers around the house, such as mums, to add a splash of colour. When Thanksgiving is over, you can plant these beautiful flowers in your garden to enjoy next year.
- Get your kids involved. Have them make Thanksgiving decorations from recycled material! Think about all the ways they can get creative with items such as cardboard or boxboard, paper, paper towel rolls, plastic lids, tin cans, and much much more.
- Check your grocery list twice when you go shopping for Thanksgiving to make sure you have everything — you don’t want to have to make a second trip. Don’t forget your reusable bags! While at the store, buy items with little to no packaging, and make sure you have an accurate guest list. Only buy enough food for the guests you have attending. One of the most common questions about Thanksgiving is “how big should my turkey be?” The answer is relative to how many guests you have. For example, 10 guests = a 10 lb turkey!
- If you do end up with leftovers, give them to guests in reusable containers as they leave or make new meals such as turkey salad sandwiches or casseroles. There are lots of recipes available to make sure those leftovers get used up.
- Encourage your family and other guests to car pool. Not only does it save on parking space, it will also help to reduce harmful emissions.
- After dinner, ask for a few extra hands to help clean up. Aluminum trays can be cleaned of food debris and then recycled in the Blue Box, and turkey meat and bones can go into the GreenCart. Make sure everyone helping knows where waste materials should go. Make your collection bins visible and available, that way people will be more likely to use them.
Regardless of the size of your dinner, if you try to make some, or all, of these ideas part of your Thanksgiving tradition, you will be reducing waste and helping to protect our environment.
I hope you give a few of these ideas a try; please feel free to share your own ideas about hosting an eco-friendly dinner — I’d love to hear from you!