Have a Green Thanksgiving

Ten Easy Steps to an Eco-Friendly Holiday

Posted by Caryn Colgan | Nov 04, 2009
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It is easier to host a low impact, eco-friendly, green Thanksgiving holiday than you may think. Here are ten easy things you can do to make a green Thanksgiving celebration that even Mother Earth would applaud.

Step 1. Send eco-friendly E-mails featuring a photograph of past holidays or your family.

Online invitations services provide templates for any event. Do you prefer to mail an invitation? Consider a paper-free alternative such as hemp, banana stalks, organic cotton or bamboo. To reduce waste and postage costs, use postcards to invite guests to your green Thanksgiving.

Step 2. Suggest carpooling.

You will have more available parking spaces and your guests will have more family and friend face time by sharing rides to your green Thanksgiving meal. Include the names, phone numbers, or E-mail addresses of guests who can reasonably ride together. Remind drivers to keep their tires properly inflated and engines tuned for optimal gas mileage.

Step 3. Use natural and organic cleaning materials to clean for Thanksgiving.

For most people, Thanksgiving Day is an occasion for a major house cleaning. Green your Thanksgiving cleaning this year by using non-toxic cleaning solutions. Vinegar and water can be used to shine faucets and bathroom tub and shower enclosures. A 50/50 solution of rubbing alcohol and distilled water and newspaper will provide a streak-free shine to all your windows and mirrors. Baking soda will buff most stains from tile, tubs or toilet bowls.

Step 4. Don't buy expensive Thanksgiving decorations.

Buy reusable Thanksgiving decor. Use organic flowers, branches, dried flowers from your yard or local farmers market. Buy living plants or flowers. Potted herbs such as peppermint, lemon balm and basil are beautiful and add a spicy scent to the air. Ask your local florist if recycled arrangements are an option.

Step 5. Turn off some of the lights and brighten the evening or add ambiance with soy candles.

Made from a renewable product, hydrogenated soybean oil, they are a greener choice than paraffin based candles. Soy Candles generally burn longer and come in a variety of scents.

Step 6. Serve organic, locally grown wines or champagnes if they are available.

Bottles with real cork are greener than ones with not plastic "corks" or twist-off tops. Cork is a renewable resource and the trees are not killed during harvest.

Step 7. Use biodegradable plates, cups and cutlery that can be added to your compost heap after the party.

Some are made from sugar cane while others are derived from corn. Avoid paper or plastic products.

Step 8. Cook consciously for a green Thanksgiving.

Cook multiple dishes in the oven (use both oven racks) to reduce the use of the appliances. Turn your burners down - simmering and boiling are the same temperature. Turn a cold shoulder to disposable cookware like aluminum pans. After using your oven, open it up and let the heat out into your kitchen.

Step 9. Buy organic fruits and vegetables along with your free-range, humanely raised turkey.

Bring your own bags to the supermarket.

Step 10. Donate your leftover food and canned goods to a local homeless shelter or a food bank.

It is best to call before your event to make sure they will accept it or to find out what they need. Some will even send someone to pick it up as they make their rounds. Also be sure to ask if the center wants the decorations too.

By implementing a few easy steps, your holidays can be just as much fun and have less impact than before. By setting the green example, your guests may be inspired to host the next eco-friendly event.

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