Frank Luca | Unsplash
Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones in celebration of the Earth’s bountiful gifts. It is a moment to recognize abundance — to acknowledge the support we receive from our communities, and in turn, share from the bounty of our resources by giving back to those in need. Just as the holiday serves as a reminder to be grateful for our personal well-being, we’d be remiss to ignore the health of the environment that sustains us and allows us to thrive.
As you consider the many ways you can give back this year, can you also make a commitment to showing your support for Mother Nature?
Leading a sustainable lifestyle has become more accessible than ever, and every little action you take has a big, lasting impact on the planet. We here at Fillaree are on a mission to make our world cleaner and greener through our reduce, reuse, and refill program. And we’d like to express our thanks to our mindful, forward-thinking refillers who are helping us make our low-waste dream a reality!
As you’ve heard us say before, we don’t need a few people doing zero waste perfectly… we need millions and MILLIONS of people who are actively reducing their waste every day.
This Thanksgiving, whether you’ve decided to reduce your carbon footprint and stay home—and maybe Facetime with your family over dessert—or are getting out in nature with your loved ones for a hike or a short camping trip, there are many ways to swap out old holiday habits with new and improved eco-friendly ones.
And since our storefront is open all day Wednesday before the holiday, consider stopping by and picking up a bottle of refillable soap as a gift for your host—and maybe offer to help wash the dishes, too.
Here are nine ways to have your most sustainable Thanksgiving ever.
- Eat Less Meat
PSA: Animal agriculture is a top contributor to carbon emissions, with the North Carolina agriculture industry and its hog farms being one of the leading culprits in the country. We’re not saying that everyone should go vegetarian and vegan, but what if everyone simply ate less meat? According to the journal Scientific Reports, if everyone in the U.S. reduced their consumption of animal products by 25 percent, we'd save 82 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. This holiday, even if you’re not a vegetarian, consider a smaller helping of turkey on your plate. And if you’re hosting, we hope you opted for a pasture-raised turkey from a nearby farm. You could also skip it altogether and pass the Tofurkey!
- Shop Local
The future of farming is local. Shopping at your local farmers market or enrolling in a CSA program reduces packaging and transportation costs, which in turn, puts more money back in the pockets of hard working farmers. Local produce is insanely fresh and is generally treated with fewer pesticides since crop yields are smaller. When you cut out the middleman (the distributor), you develop a direct, working relationship with your local farmers. Or, if you’re planning on doing a store bought dessert, find a mom and pop bakery in your neighborhood and support a small business.
- Eat More Veggies
Fill two thirds of your plate with green, leafy vegetables—and go easy on those sides disguised as vegetables that are loaded with cream, butter, or sugar. Pro tip: If there’s not enough room on your plate for a pile of salad, go back for seconds and load up with extra greens to help aid in digestion.
- Eat Mindfully
We tend to look at Thanksgiving as an excuse to overindulge—and while there’s nothing wrong with splurging a little and enjoying yourself, there can be, of course, too much of a good thing! Save the gluttony and eat slowly, and more mindfully. Savor every bite of deliciousness rather than scarfing it down as fast as you can. Wouldn’t you rather take your sweet time to enjoy the meal you spent all day cooking? There’s no rush—and your belly will thank you for not overstuffing it. Besides, if you avoid that third helping of mashed potatoes, that means there’s more leftovers to go around.
- Donate Your Leftovers On that note, consider donating your leftovers to a shelter or a hungry friend, instead of forgetting about them for a year in the freezer and then having to throw them away. Contact a shelter near you to find out how you can share the bounty.
Say No to Plastic!
Use real cutlery and dishes rather than disposable utensils and paper plates—and crack open another bottle of wine while you wash dishes with your friends! Otherwise bring your own reusable utensils if your crew is prone to disposables.
- Bring Your Own To-Go Containers
Tell your host to save the Saran wrap and tin foil because you’ve brought your own reusable—hopefully glass—containers or Tupperware. We also love our reusable beeswax and vegan wraps made by Mishka Hands in California.
- Compost and Recycle
Make a concerted, conscious effort to produce less waste in any way you can, by composting organic material or making stock from turkey bones and gizzards. You can also set aside many of your non-recyclable plastic waste items and drop them off at a specialty recycling center. (If you live in the Triangle, these bins are available at participating Food Lion and Harris Teeter grocery stores).
- Practice Gratitude
This one seems like a given, but sometimes we get so wrapped up in the feast that we forget to give thanks! Go around the dinner table and take turns expressing what you’re thankful for. Remember, what goes around comes around.
On behalf of all of us at Fillaree, we’re wishing you a very happy and low-waste Thanksgiving!
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