12 Ways to Have a Green Thanksgiving

November 7th, 2007 BY Gloria Campos | 10 Comments

Thanksgiving is around the corner for some of us. If you celebrate it you know how non-environmentally friendly it can be. If your are looking for ways to green it up this year, here are some quick green tips to make your Thanksgiving as eco-friendly as possible.

1. Turkey Compromise. The most obvious eco-solution is to not buy a turkey and just have a complete vegan meal, especially if you’ve recently filled you head up on all the recent news on the environmental impact of eating meat, but your family has decided to go against the idea. You want you and your family to be happy so you make a compromise (no, not a soy shaped into a turkey). To compromise you can do several things:

a. You can buy and cook the turkey give it to your family and not eat it yourself. Eat a delicious organic salad, with cherries and nuts and homemade dressing, but unless you are already vegan or vegetarian, do you really have the will power to smell the turkey and not eat it?

b. Buy an organic Free-Range Turkey. An organic free range turkey is suppose to be turkey that is not in cages and is allowed to move about the yard. Some informative sites to turn to to make sure you are getting exactly what you are looking for are Really Natural and Free Range Turkeys.

c. Yes, organic free-range turkeys can be expensive so if it doesn’t fit in your budget this year consider another alternative. Buy a regular turkey and the rest of your food organic. Local Farmers market is a good place to look for organic fruits and veggies, but if there isn’t one near your area buy organic from your local grocery store.

2. Organic. Buy everything you can buy organic, milk, meat, veggies, fruits, etc. This includes any boxed or canned items you may purchase. Remember to go online and search for Organic coupons. This will help cut down the cost of your Thanksgiving feast

3. Packaging. When you go to the store buy things that have the least amount of packaging and try to buy packaging that is environmentally friendly.

4. Don’t cook so much. Yes, “it is better to have more than not enough” but is it really necessary to count 3 servings per person? Isn’t that a bit much? Think about all the left overs you had last year and then cut down on that amount of servings if you are going to have the same amount of people over this year. . Between the turkey, the many side dishes and the desserts there is plenty of food to stuff everyone and more. If you accidentally do make too much food or someone cancels, give the leftovers away to family and friends, Don’t let them mold up in the fridge.

5. Dinnerware and silverware. It’s okay to use your good dishes or even your regular dishes for Thanksgiving. It is a celebration after all, but if the thought of washing so many dishes is terrifying look into biodegradable or bamboo disposable dishes.

6. Beautiful weather outside. A lot of bodies in one house can make the place warm so if its cool outside open up some windows to help the place cool down, instead of turning on the AC.

7. Decorations. Reuse your old decorations from last year in new way or just make some new ones. Use items from your back yard and fall fabric colors if you have any to make a nice centerpiece. As always the Internet is a great resource for creative ideas. Any bought decorations should also be environmentally friendly, that includes flowers, plants and so on.

8. 100-Mile. Participate in the 100-Mile Thanksgiving challenge from Treehugger. If you haven’t heard of it yet click on the link here.

9. Plant a tree. Winter season is a good time to plant trees and shrubs so take this time to plant a tree and keep the green growing.

10. Carbon credits. If you must fly or drive to visit family this Thanksgiving consider purchasing carbon credits to make up for it.

11. Donate your turkey fat. No, not the fat you put on from eating the turkey, but the actual fat from the cooked Turkey. Can you believe a Tucson-based company recycles Turkey fat into Biofuel? Check to see if a company in your community does too.

12. Say Thanks..

  1. Brandon

    I loved this piece. It is a quick and dirty checklist of what to do to green up your Thanksgiving. I give thanks for your writing. I saw a couple more suggestions on environmentally friendly Thanksgiving celebrations here…


  2. 2

    [...] AboutMyPlanet.com lists 12 ways to have a greener Thanksgiving, from the obvious – buying local fruits and vegetables – to the not-so-obvious like donating your used turkey fat. [...]

  3. 3

    [...] a few more tips, check out Suite101.com and AboutMyPlanet.com as well.  Have a happy, and green, Thanksgiving! Posted by abiggers Filed in [...]

  4. KathyF

    I think you give short shrift to the idea of not having a turkey. My family hasn’t had turkey in about 15 years, and they couldn’t be happier. I always make something fancy to take its place, and every year they are eager to see what I come up with. Whatever it is, the carbon footprint of our meal is much smaller than those that include turkey.

  5. Elena K

    Love this article. Especially the part about not buying a turkey and going vegan.

  6. Texas Green Blog

    Thanks for the awesome list, I never knew turkey fat had such a cool use as a biofuel!

    Check out our Three L’s guide to a greener Thanksgiving celebration;

  7. Mitch Wright

    I mean donkey nuts…sorryy

  8. Kaj 02

    Want to make it “GREEN” this year? Then skip your traditional meal and go help serve those who are in need. You will make it green by:

    1 – Minimizing CO2 and other gases by not driving all around town (within 100 mi of home per Treehugger) to get all the ingredients;

    2 – Very little use of packaging as you will not be buying anything in small packages;

    3 – No guest = no fuel for them to burn to get to your house;

    4 – No need to worry about not using biodegradable cleaner or bamboo disposable dishes;

    5 – Less usage of electricity since you will not be home watching the Lions lose ( a Thanksgiving tradition);

    6 – The original Thanksgiving was a community meal so become part of one. Don’t know where to go? Google or ask the local non-profit.

    7 – When all is said and done – think how good you will feel about all the calories you did not consume and how you made a difference in this world.


  9. THTL

    This article is just as relevant now as it ever has been! I hope it gets some attention this year as well. It’s important that people realize that the holidays don’t have to be about cutting down: they’re a great way to stimulate the LOCAL economy. It’s the shipping of out-of-season foods that really hurts the environment. Gorge out on your local farmer’s market goods to your heart’s content! Great post ma’am.

    This is a somewhat modernized article about getting green on Thanksgiving:


  10. 10

    [...] going organic and free range with your turkey or with a heritage breed ­­­- one at risk of going extinct due to the [...]

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