What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?  Your Friends? Your Family? Your health? All of these? Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to reflect on the year while surrounded by friends, family, and plenty of good food. What to give thanks to the Earth this year?

Here are a few tips on how to make your Thanksgiving plans more sustainable:

1. Consider Your Travel

According to the American Automotive Association, over 50 million Americans travel over 50 miles for their Thanksgiving meals. When traveling consider the impact of your flight and drive maybe stay closer to home this year. Remember that public transportation like buses and trains are much more efficient than driving in a car alone. Or try carpooling, Nuride is a great way for people living in Massachusetts to plan carpools. If you do leave home for the holiday, make sure to turn down the heat and unplug your electronics before you leave!

2. Reduce Food Waste:

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? The mashed potatoes? Cranberry sauce? Pumpkin pie? Whichever it may be, keep in mind portion control; as difficult as it may be, take smaller portions because you can always get seconds. According to the NRDC around 40% of all food in the United States is wasted. Help combat food waste this Thanksgiving by cleaning your plate and saving your leftovers. Turn leftovers into delicious meals —leftover turkey and bones can make amazing soup or try making potato pancakes from mashed potatoes.

3. Go Meatless or Try Eating Less Meat:

The turkey is typically the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving dinner, so it may sound outlandish to consider going meatless this year. That being said, there are so many other delicious Thanksgiving dishes to be had, like mashed potatoes, kale, Brussels sprouts, green beans, and butternut squash soup. Even if you don’t want to go completely meatless, try putting less meat on your plate. The meat industry is a major contributor to climate change because of its methane production.

4. Use Reusable Dishware:

Prevent waste going into the landfill by using reusable napkins, dishes, silverware, and cups. In addition to being reusable, using real dishes brings a homier and warmer vibe to any meal.

5.Buy Local and Organic:

Local food is grown in your region and requires less fossil fuels and packaging for transportation. Organic food is grown without the use of pesticides which get into rivers and land and damage the ecosystems there. Organic and local food tends to be more expensive and this added cost is a barrier for many, but often goes on sale (find coupons and member sales with your grocery store’s rewards card). Whenever possible try to buy local or organic. Some farms even offer Thanksgiving CSA shares


Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect with friends and family over a delicious meal. Have some open conversations with and share ideas, interests, and passions; including your passions for sustainability. If you struggle with discussing sustainability, then check out these tips from One Tree Planted.

Holidays are easy occasions to be swept into a buzz of consumerism and excess, so keep some these tips in mind and enjoy a happy and sustainable Thanksgiving!