Christmas isn’t the only holiday that is notorious for waste. From the disposable decorations to the tableware and food waste, Thanksgiving can quickly fill up the garbage bin. If you look beyond the gluttonous holiday season, the overall recycling pace in America does not sit on par with the world’s top-tier recycling countries. At just a 34 percent success rate, the U.S. sends only 1/3 of its waste into the recycling pool.

What better time to inspire sustainable habits than during the holiday season with our communities, friends and families? Exactly! That’s what we said: timing is perfect. Here are some easy tips-and-tricks to help your household host a big holiday feast and also have a green Thanksgiving.

Green Thanksgiving Tips

Reusable Dishware: You can’t use it if you don’t buy it! Avoid purchasing plastic utensils and plates and opt into using real plates, silverware, and cups. If you don’t have enough plate ware, ask people to BYOP: Bring Your Own Plates. Invite everyone to take turns doing the dishes—which is fun when it’s a group activity.

Reusable Cloth: Use fabric, fabric, fabric: this goes for the tablecloth, napkins, hand towels, and for cleaning rags! Nix the disposable paper napkins, paper towels, and paper tablecloth. Don’t want to invest in a new set? Check out the second-hand stores in your town, purchase a swatch of fabric to create your own, or cut up old clothes.

Food Packaging and Waste: As the chef and assistant cooks lead the kitchen, be sure everyone knows where each trash receptacle is located for recycling food packaging, non-recyclable items, and food waste—remembering to compost when possible. Awareness of garbage is especially key, given that millions of other households are celebrating on the same day and also disposing of high amounts of waste. Trash in the landfill adds up! Bring a lemon for your host’s garbage disposal. And—ask dog owners before feeding scraps to the pups—some dog’s diets make for great all-natural disposals!

Food Leftovers: Approximately 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes to waste: don’t let this happen at your holiday party! Use reusable plastic or ceramic containers to hold the food leftovers, rather than wrapping up items in tin foil or in plastic bags that will be tossed out later. Also, send your guests home with leftovers, too!

Decorations: Avoid purchasing one-time use decorations. Instead, purchase a timeless set such as ambiance lights, a cornucopia display that you can add fresh fruit and flowers to, holiday candles, and music. Taking the time to use long-term décor, which will ultimately be stowed away for the next holiday party, also helps to instill tradition.

Carpooling and Biking: Take the time to coordinate carpool rides with your friends and family, rather than everyone driving separate to the party. Or, plan to bike together! Rolling around on two wheels with a group (remember to wear helmets and bike lights, ya’ll) is such a refreshingly spectacular way to start and end an evening of celebration.

Spread the good word: If you use social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, be sure to post photos with hashtags that inspire your effort to have a #greenthanksgiving, before, during and after the holiday. Create a board on Pinterest before throwing your holiday party. Tell your story live on Snapchat. Using any and all of these social avenues will reach more people and help to inspire a movement.

If you would like to learn more about recycling, visit our blog! We at General Kinematics are dedicated to providing the best equipment for municipalities and recycling facilities to recycle economically and effectively, and we love to share our knowledge.
« | »