Did You Know?
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in 2016, 6 million turkeys were thrown out over the Thanksgiving holiday? Financially, 6 million turkeys in the trash equals a loss of over $296 million. Raising these trash turkeys also wasted 100 billion gallons of water, and produced the same emissions that 800,000 cars would if they drove across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also estimates that in general, 30-40% of food in the United States is wasted. How much of your Thanksgiving feast ended up in the trash last year?
Luckily, the NRDC has come up with a tool to help you plan. You can visit savethefood.com and use the Guest-imator to help plan how much food you actually need to make. It takes into account heavy vs light eaters, meat eaters, vegetarians, whether or not you would like to have leftovers, and other factors to help you reduce your food waste as much as possible. You can also find recipes and storage tips, to make sure any leftovers you do have don’t go to waste.
Here are some other tips to help make your Thanksgiving more environmentally friendly:
Skip the Disposables
Disposable plates, napkins, and silverware seem convenient, but they leave a lasting impact on the environment. It takes much more water and energy to produce disposables than it does to run the dishwasher a few times. Also, plastic silverware will be on this planet long after you’re gone, and if it does breakdown it will leach toxic chemicals into the environment in the process.
Have all your guests wash or load their own plate. That way, not all the clean-up falls on one person and the disposables won’t seem so tempting.
Bring Autumn Inside
Looking out the window you can’t help but see how beautiful nature is in the fall. Flowers, leaves, gourds, pinecones, grasses – the colors are bright, bold, and make a very festive statement. Centerpieces and other decorations can easily be made from material found outside. It’s a good project to get the kids involved with, it has little to no cost, and you can toss everything in the compost pile when you’re done.
Your local farmers have been preparing for your Thanksgiving all year. Locally grown food not only tastes better, but it reduces the transportation footprint and supports your local economy. Visit one of the Farmers Markets, or look for locally grown produce in the grocery stores.
For more waste reduction tips, visit www.LawrenceRecycles.org or call 832-3032.
** Want to read more tips? View previous Did You Know articles here! **