The Green Blog
New Ways to be Green This Thanksgiving
As we give thanks this holiday season for family and friends, let's remember to thank Mother Earth, who shelters and sustains us, too! Here are some tips for an eco-friendly Thanksgiving.

Decorate the green way
Use sustainable, organic soy candles on your table. Be aware that most wax candles are made with animal fats and non-renewable petroleum, so make sure you check the labels of the candles first.

Make your own placemats by ironing found leaves between two sheets of wax paper and lace a towel over the paper (see how to do it here), or use cloth ones instead of plastic or disposable ones.

If you must use paper napkins, be sure to use those made from renewable or post-consumer recycled resources. Cloth napkins are even better, made from hemp, bamboo or organic cotton. Or, make your own from scrap material around your house.

Decorate your table with centerpieces made from compostable or edible materials, like gourds and fruits, that won't have to be thrown in the trash once Thanksgiving is over. Gather leaves from your yard to make a seasonal display, or use a fruit basket that guests can enjoy while feasting at the table. Here are more green ideas for centerpieces.

The meal
Use portion control to avoid wasting or throwing away extra food. Or, if you do have too many leftovers, consider donating them to a local food pantry or shelter.

See our blog, Have a Green Thanksgiving, on ways to plan and cook a healthy meal that is also eco-friendly.

Don't forget to recycle, and leave clearly marked bins for your guests so they can recycle after the feast, too.

Travel
Thanksgiving weekend is one of heaviest for highway travel in the United States. This year, why not reduce global warming and improve air quality by lowering your auto emissions at the same time that you lower your family's stress level? Skip the stressful holiday travel and celebrate an eco-friendly Thanksgiving at home.

If you must go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house, there are still ways to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving. If you drive, use less fuel and lower your emissions by making sure your car is in good working order and your tires are properly inflated. If possible, carpool to reduce the number of cars on the road and lower the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to air pollution and global warming.

If you fly, consider a non-stop flight, pack lighter, use Google's flight matrix to compare flight emissions, and find other ways here to offset your carbon footprint when flying. A typical long-haul flight produces nearly four tons of carbon dioxide.

Be grateful
As we give thanks this holiday season, be sure to invite those who may be unable to join their families or are alone this year. Consider volunteering to serve a Thanksgiving meal at a local shelter or soup kitchen, too.  Ask your family to join you and start a new holiday tradition. And remember to be grateful for the good things in your life - including what you have done to make the Earth a healthier and greener place!