As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s the perfect time to reflect on our gratitude for our planet and make conscious choices to protect it. One way to do that is by celebrating a plastic-free Thanksgiving. Plastic pollution is a growing environmental concern, and by reducing our plastic use during this holiday, we can make a positive impact. In this blog, we’ll explore how you can have a joyful, delicious, and eco-friendly Thanksgiving without the need for single-use plastic and foam packaging and other items. Read on to discover some ideas that you can implement into your Thanksgiving and beyond.

1. Plan a Low-Waste Menu

The first step in having a plastic-free Thanksgiving is planning a menu that focuses on fresh, locally-sourced, and minimally processed ingredients. By avoiding pre-packaged, plastic-wrapped foods, you can significantly reduce your plastic consumption. Opt for farmers’ market produce, bulk bin items, and products with minimal or compostable packaging. Purchase items like eggs in recyclable paper packaging. Go to your local bulk store and bring your own jars and containers for your ingredients. 

2. Ditch Plastic Tableware

Say goodbye to disposable plastic plates, cups, and utensils. Instead, choose reusable, eco-friendly alternatives such as ceramic dishes, glassware, and real silverware. If you’re concerned about a large gathering, consider renting tableware or asking guests to bring their own.

3. Cloth Napkins and Linens

Trade paper napkins, that can sometimes be lined in plastic, for cloth napkins and disposable tablecloths for reusable fabric ones. Not only does this reduce waste, but it also adds an elegant touch to your Thanksgiving table. Check your thrift store for tablecloths so that you’re not purchasing another one and you’re helping save polyester and plastic-made fabrics from going to the landfill.

4. Eco-Friendly Decor

Plastic decorations have become a common sight at Thanksgiving gatherings. To cut back on plastic waste, choose decorations made from natural materials like paper, wood, and cloth. You can create a cozy and festive atmosphere with items like cloth bunting banners, wooden centerpieces, and natural garlands. You can even collect pine cones from outside or grow your own gourds and pumpkins for a lovely centerpiece.

5. Make Homemade Dishes

Rather than buying pre-made dishes encased in plastic, embrace the joy of cooking from scratch. Homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pies are not only tastier but also generate less plastic waste. As mentioned above, try to buy ingredients in bulk or from local markets to minimize plastic packaging.

6. Sustainable Food Storage

If you have leftovers, avoid using plastic wrap or containers. Instead, opt for glass or stainless steel containers with lids. They are reusable and safe for both storing and reheating your Thanksgiving leftovers.  Encourage your guests to also bring a glass container for any leftovers.

7. Compost Food Waste

Minimize food waste by composting your organic scraps. Many communities have composting programs, or you can create your own compost pile. This not only reduces plastic waste but also benefits the environment by creating nutrient-rich soil.

8. Educate and Inspire

Share your commitment to a plastic-free Thanksgiving with friends and family. Encourage them to join you in reducing plastic waste during the holiday season. Small changes can have a big impact when collectively adopted.

9. Skip Black Friday

After Thanksgiving comes the anticipated Black Friday offers. The impact of Black Friday on the environment is astronomical. In the US alone, waste increases by 25% on Black Friday*. Many products come in single-use plastic and foam packaging and are often used once, thrown away, or returned to the company. Opt out of overspending and Black Friday this year. If you’re purchasing gifts for others, consider experience based gifts like movie or concert tickets, make a donation to a local charity on someone’s behalf or make practical gifts by hand. These types of gifts will be more meaningful for the people on the receiving end.

In conclusion, Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and togetherness, and what better way to extend this appreciation to the planet than by celebrating a plastic-free Thanksgiving. By making simple, sustainable choices in your menu planning, table setting, and shopping, you can have a joyful and environmentally-conscious holiday. Remember that every small step counts in the fight against single-use plastic and foam pollution, and collectively, we can make a significant difference.

Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving plastic and foam-free? Share your sustainability tips with us on social media: