The holidays are upon us and with that comes.. A lot of waste. Especially with food packaging, gift packaging and wastefulness of un-eaten food.
So, don't give up on the celebrating, instead follow these tips for simple ways to have a more eco-friendly holiday!
1. Be realistic with your menu.
It's the time of year to indulge. We get it! But, consider how much people are really going to eat (or should eat) before buying extra produce or ingredients that are only applicable to that time of year (hello, cranberry sauce). Ask friendly/family what they want to indulge in and do a quick google search to figure out how much is realistic of that item for each guest. Choose ingredients that are used across multiple recipes.
2. Choose locally grown or organic.
Purchasing locally grown foods will cut down on carbon emissions significantly. Also, purchasing organic means there are no harmful chemicals or pesticides used in the farming process. Head to your farmers market for your groceries this year! Help a local small business and cut down on your carbon emissions (win-win!)
3. Take re-usable bags with you.
Instead of walking out of the store with handfuls of paper/plastic bags, take your own bags! If you forget, opt for paper bags and be sure to re-use those for when your guests take leftovers home.
4. Purchase items in recyclable packaging.
Go for foods that are in cardboard, glass jars and bottles, and aluminum tins or cans to help cut down on the amount of trash created during the holiday season.
5. Opt for Vegetarian options
The holidays are all about the ham and turkey. We get it. But, opt for vegetarian based sides when you can. Many resources go into raising animals, particularly water. By focusing on vegetarian side dished, you're reducing the resources used to create your meal. A huge plus if you look into an organic, pasture-raised turkey that was bred in a more sustainable and ethical way.
Any scraps (even the odd-ends that don't make the meal during the prep phase + coffee grounds and egg shells) can go into a compost bin. They will break down naturally and enrich the soil. If you don't have a compost bin, NextDoor is a great resource to connect with neighbors. Find a neighbor that already has a compost system in place - I'm sure they would be happy to let you drop off compost a few times a month when your personal bin is full.
7. Store leftovers safely.
Use glass and reusable wax wrap to store leftovers. There are many harmful effects of plastic wrap and plastic containers. Send friends/family home with reusable containers and don't forget to write your name on the bottom so it can easily find it's way home later.
8. Go light on the decorations.
Use greenery from outside (ie: Pinecones, branches and more) or use decor you already have at home. It's more about the people and memories, anyways.
9. Use real plates and silverware.
This one is straightforward. Cut down on single-use items such as paper plates, plastic silverware and paper napkins. Opt for real tableware when you can.
We hope you have an amazing holiday season and can use some of these tips to have an eco-friendly feast.