While the holiday season often means splurging, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate without being wasteful. Many of us will spend lots of time with friends and family around the dinner table, where perhaps the most excess waste occurs. Here are some tips to help you enjoy holiday meals with loved ones, and make sustainable choices.
Setting the Table.
Though it’s tempting to go with the convenience of disposable products, they aren’t always eco-friendly. Instead, stick with reusable dinnerware and table linens. Expecting a large crowd and afraid you’ll run out of dinnerware? You don’t have to break the bank - purchase a fun and eclectic mix of plates, cups and silverware at a flea market or garage sale. Going green for the holidays can be fun too. Check out these reusable napkin folding ideas that are sure to impress.
Much of your holiday meal can be purchased locally thanks to local growers. Beans, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, eggplants, onions, mushrooms, potatoes and squash are all produce that can be bought locally during the winter months. Not only does locally grown food put money back into your community, it also reduces your food’s carbon footprint because many grocery stores ship from across the country and overseas. Local farmer’s markets are a good place to start.
Eliminate Food Waste.
Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of year, and food waste makes up about 21% of what is discarded.
The first step to reducing holiday food waste is determining how much you’ll need to feed your guests. Keep these “rules of thumb” in mind while planning for your event.
If you still have leftovers despite your efforts, don’t fret. Send them home with guests. Encourage guests to bring reusable containers to dinner so they’re prepared to take food home when the festivities end.
Composting is another easy way to eliminate holiday food waste. New to composting? Learn more here.