Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the things and people that mean the most to us. But while it brings plenty of cheer and joy, the same can’t be said for the planet – all that extra food, decor and packaging has a devastating impact on the environment. If you want to have a more eco-friendly, sustainable Thanksgiving this year, here are some simple but effective tips to keep in mind:
1. Check Your Fridge
Before you head to the shops, take stock of what’s in your fridge and freezer – you may already have some of the ingredients needed for your Thanksgiving feast. Then, be sure to arm yourself with a grocery list so you only buy what you need. You’ll also be less likely to make extra trips back and forth, thereby reducing your carbon footprint in the process.
2. Shop Local (As Much As Possible)
Get your veggies from the local wet market – fresh produce is lighter in terms of carbon footprint since it hasn’t travelled a great distance. As for the turkey, Hong Kong doesn’t have turkey farms, so this will unfortunately have to be imported. However, you can still find organic and ethically-sourced turkeys for a more conscious choice this Thanksgiving.
Tenderloin and Aussie Meat sell organic turkeys imported from France and the US respectively that are fed a diet of corn, soybean meal, and other minerals and vitamins with no hormones or antibiotics used, making for a healthier Thanksgiving feast.
3. Buy Only What You Need
If a recipe calls for four onions, buy four onions. Too often, we use the holidays as an excuse to buy too many things, but this will just cause more food waste.
Also, if your guests will be bringing food along for Thanksgiving, be sure to keep tabs on what everyone is bringing so that you can avoid making too much food, or making two of the same dish.
4. Avoid Excessive Packaging
Most produce available at supermarkets is wrapped individually, creating unnecessary plastic waste. Instead, get your fruits, veggies and other pantry staples from the wet market or at bulk food and zero waste shops. If you’ve got the skills, you could even make your own dinner rolls and pies instead of buying ready-made items in order to avoid excessive packaging.
See also: 8 Zero Waste Stores in Hong Kong
5. Go Plant-Based
It’s true – going plant-based is one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight climate change. Although it may be difficult to convince your guests to go meat-free, what you can do is make plenty of plant-based dishes for the Thanksgiving spread. Some ideas include a vegan pumpkin pie, a roasted vegetable dish or simply use plant-based meat alternatives like Impossible, Beyond or OmniFoods – your guests might not even know the difference.
6. Take It To Go
Thanksgiving is all about sharing, after all. Having your guests bring their own Tupperware or reusable containers to take leftovers home. Some of our fave Hong Kong reusable container brands include LexNGo and Take Lifestyle. Stylish and sustainable, they’ll definitely help you and your guests avoid food waste whilst clearing up space in your fridge.
7. Make Use Of Leftovers
Make a list of recipes that you can make with Thanksgiving leftovers to avoid food waste. For example, if you have leftover turkey, you can shred it and use it in sandwiches, or boil the bones to make a rich soup base. Get some leftover Thanksgiving recipe inspo from Martha Stewart, and don’t give yourself the chance to let leftover food go to waste.
8. Donate Extra Food To Charity
If you really have too much leftover from Thanksgiving, you can always donate them to an organisation that redistributes food to the needy (like Feeding Hong Kong and Foodwise). This way, you’ll be doing good for your fellow humans and the environment.
There’s no reason that your sustainable habits should suffer because of holidays like Thanksgiving. Give thanks to Mother Nature for all its beauty by reducing your carbon footprint; your eco-friendliness could even rub off on your friends!
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