How to Throw a Sustainable Thanksgiving Dinner

A time for family, friends, food, and heart-warming drinks! A time for giving thanks and self-reflection! Thanksgiving is a favorite festivity for people from all generations. Like any massive celebration, however, Thanksgiving usually generates a lot of waste. All the extra traveling, extra shopping, extra eating, and extra food leftovers are not giving any thanks to the Planet. And to your wallet as well.

According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council Thanksgiving is one of the most wasteful times of the year. Before the Pandemic, the USA alone had about 200 million pounds of turkey ending up in the landfill the week after Thanksgiving. On an annual basis. So why not try to level up our game this year, as everything is getting back to normal, and try to celebrate with the idea of minimizing environmental damage in mind.

Hosting a festive dinner this Thanksgiving? Here are our 5 favorite tips for throwing a more sustainable feast.

Scan the cupboards and the fridge before creating your shopping list

Start creating your list the first or second week of November. That way you will be able to think it over and cross out any unnecessary items from the list over time. Careful planning is the key to throwing a low-waste celebration and that definitely starts with a well-thought shopping list based on your guest number and menu selection.

Scanning the kitchen beforehand will definitely help you do that, avoid buying unnecessary items, and have a more sustainable Thanksgiving dinner.

Go seasonal and shop from the local farmer’s market

Whenever possible shop from your local farmer’s market. That way you will have fresher seasonal food produce that is also grown near you and is usually grown following sustainable practices. Getting back to the Thanksgiving menu selection – it’s always better and more budget-friendly to make it based on seasonal and local products.

Communicate your plans with your guests so that you avoid making too much food

Coordination is important especially when we talk about event planning. And Thanksgiving is officially an event that should be carefully planned. Some of your guests will (hopefully) want to contribute meals to the feast. Make sure to know that in advance so that you don’t end up with 3 apple-brown sugar pies and too much gravy.

Be mindful of the food scraps

You will be surprised how much of the scraps we treat as garbage could actually be used and turned into delicious broths and even complete meals. Cooking the often-discarded parts of food (mostly vegetables) is not a myth! And you are one search away from some truly great scrap recipes!

As for the truly inedible parts of the produce – don’t forget to compost them. If you don’t already have a composter yourself, you can always search for a nearby public one.

Get creative with the leftovers

In a perfect world, you would have planned the perfect menu for your sustainable Thanksgiving dinner and you wouldn’t have any leftovers. Well… you don’t have to be that perfect and a bit of leftover food is not that bad as long as you can use it and don’t let it end up in the landfill.

The easiest way is to repurpose the leftovers. The leftover turkey meat, gravy, and side vegetables could be turned into delicious turkey sandwiches the day after. Don’t forget to freeze the food that you can’t eat within a few days. 

Sharing the food with the ones in need is also a great option!

There you have it! Our 5 easy tips to help you host a sustainable Thanksgiving dinner.

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