Green your holidays
It is estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste increases 25 percent. I want to share some easy ways to reduce waste, and make your holidays more green!
An easy step to take is to purchase local and/or organic foods when possible. Locally grown and raised food reduces the carbon dioxide emissions from shipping foods. Purchasing organic foods reduces the need for pesticides and toxic chemicals. These chemicals, when used on conventionally grown items, are not only detrimental to your health, but they enter the soil, which eventually runs off into rivers and lakes. This time of year it is not as easy to find locally raised produce, but it’s still available. I have seen it both at Heinen’s and Whole Foods in recent weeks. If you are looking for a locally raised turkey to serve at Thanksgiving, you can call and order one in advance at Lake Road Market in Rocky River. They are delicious, and are $3.29/lb.
Furthermore, purchasing food and other items in bulk when possible reduces packaging waste (reducing your waste) and also saves you money. Also, please remember to bring your reusable shopping bags when shopping for the holidays! This is an extremely simple step you can take to drastically reduce your waste.
It is estimated that 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year. This is equivalent to more than 100 pounds per person. If you are hosting holiday gatherings, it is important to estimate the correct amount of food to purchase so you don’t end up with too much or too little. General guidelines are as follows per person you are serving: 1 lb. turkey, ¼ lb. stuffing, ¼ lb. green bean casserole, and 1/8 of a 9” pie.
There are simple steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint if you are going to be traveling for the holidays. The first would be to turn off lights in your home before you leave, and make sure your thermostat is turned down as well. Having your car checked to ensure proper inflation of tires and a clean air filter will also reduce carbon emissions.
Using real plates, napkins and silverware will greatly reduce your waste over the holidays. In my opinion, I like eating a nice holiday meal with a real plate and a real fork over plastic. If you must use disposable, please consider purchasing biodegradable and compostable napkins, utensils and plates. These can be found at Whole Foods or Amazon.com.
When cleaning your house either before or after a holiday gathering, consider using non-toxic cleaners. Vinegar and newspaper works extremely well for windows, and baking soda with water is a great tub and sink scrub. Simple, non-toxic cleaner recipes are all over the internet, so take a couple minutes if you can to find even more.
Last, but certainly not least, please make sure you recycle everything you are able to. Plastic containers, beer cans and bottles, wine bottles, food cans, etc. Taking even a few of these simple steps will go a long way in your environmental impact during the holidays! Happy Thanksgiving!