Holidays can mean a lot of waste, and tend not to be particularly eco-friendly. When it comes to Thanksgiving, there is a lot of food and entertaining, and there are plenty of ideas for how to make your holiday a little greener.

Have a plan for leftovers

It is typical that you will have a lot of leftovers from your Thanksgiving feast. Plan ahead and be strategic about saving leftovers so to best utilize them. Prioritize your leftovers so that perishables that cannot be frozen (like salads) are eaten first, and others can be frozen. There are lots of creative recipes that are great ways to use up turkey. Cooking in large batches is actually efficient, so make sure you plan accordingly so leftovers don’t go to waste.

Don’t use disposable tableware

While disposables can make life easy, avoid them whenever possible. This goes for paper napkins as well. You can also consider alternatives to disposables, like plates constructed from palm leaves, which can be composted. This is a great time to get out the dishes that were handed down to you that you don’t use! If not, maybe now is the time to think about donating or selling dishes that aren’t getting used.

Evite Cranberry Shortcake

Create eco-friendly centerpieces & decorations

Reuse decorations or or come up with eco-friendly ideas, such as gourds. Some examples include using mini gourds, dried flowers, pomander balls, fruit, mason jars, etc.

Choose food items carefully

It is a good idea to support fair trade, organic, eco-friendly, sustainable companies, as well as local companies when you can. There are lots of great ways to choose treats that are better for the earth.  Holiday foods can also mean a lot of packaging, so keep this in mind. For example, buy treats that come in a jar, versus individually wrapped candies. Buying in bulk is also a good strategy.

Use reusable shopping bags and other reusable items

When you head to the store, don’t forget your reusable bags. Chances are, you are buying a large quantity of foods for the holidays, and it is good to have your shopping bags with you. Throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, consider other reusable items as much as possible, such as glass storage containers and beeswax wrap (as opposed to plastic bags or other disposables), cloth tablecloth and napkins, and so on.

Shop locally & sustainably

When you are buying Thanksgiving supplies, shop local and support your local businesses.  You can find just about anything from a turkey to wine. Check out your local farmer’s market for things like squash, pumpkins, etc.