It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Except for mother earth who gets impacted the most. Think of all the food that gets thrown away. Or what about all the wrapping paper we use on gifts? Don’t forget about all those holiday commuters who travel too. Not to fret though, we have plenty of tips that can make you feel good this year plus help you create less waste!
Don’t Throw Away Everything
Do you know much food is thrown away each year? An estimated 204 million pounds of turkey meat will get thrown away at Thanksgiving. According to the NRFA (National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association), a family of four throws out 300 pounds of food each year. Imagine now how that number will double or triple during the holidays!
“But kidding aside, the impact of that waste goes far beyond simply throwing out edible turkey. The NRDC says it has a financial impact too – to the tune of $293 million. Even more alarmingly, keep in mind that a turkey is a living animal, which takes time and resources to raise. “Depending on which estimate you use, [raising] that amount of discarded turkey required over 100 billion gallons of water—enough to supply New York City for 100 days,” the NRDC writes. “And when it comes to climate pollution, it wasted emissions equivalent to driving a car across the country 800,000 times.” That’s a lot of extra holiday travel.” says Mike Pomranz of Food & Wine Magazine.
Utilize every part of the fruit or vegetable when you are cooking! For example, if you making a pasta dish, take the leftover celery greens and carrot tops and blend it into a pesto sauce. Making squash? Clean the seeds and roast them in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper as a crunchy appetizer or after dinner snack.
There is nothing wrong with having leftovers the next day. But, the day after that, not so much. Try freezing your food instead of leaving it all in the fridge. (This does not apply to just holidays but year round as well.) You can always reheat that food up at a later time. Or if your friends or relatives want leftovers, offer them a plate to take home!
Make Your Holiday Party Green This Year
If you are throwing a holiday party, consider putting together a menu. Write down a list how many people are coming, what items you need, and what items you have. Don’t cook for 100 people if only 50 people are coming. Consider serving foods that have lots of fiber and nutrients to help you and your guests stay fuller, longer.
Wrap it up this wonderful season
Americans spend about $7 billion dollars on wrapping paper each year. You can recycle some wrapping paper. But, if is it made with foil, gold coloring, or glitter (which most are), the sanitation department won’t recycle it. Get creative with your gift wrap. Wrap smaller gifts using torn magazines pages. Use old maps or Sunday comics for larger gifts. Wrap your gifts in pretty fabric! There are companies such as Wrappily that sell recyclable wrapping paper and ribbons that you can use and are super adorable!
Time to Travel Green
We all know that airplanes are one of the biggest contributors to green-house gas emissions. But if you live far, that may be the only way you can travel. There are not many alternatives to traveling “green” but here are a few tips that we discovered. If you can fly economy class, do so. There is more room and not filled as much. Travel lightly – those heavy luggage bags can really add weight. Bring your reusable water bottle. Some companies like Starbucks will fill up your water for you at little to no cost. Make snacks with you. Airports allow you to bring in food so take advantage of that.
If you can, take the train or bus instead. Both trains and buses contribute less green-house gas emissions. Depending on where you are traveling too, train or bus may be faster and less stressful than trying to get through airport! Plus, you get a lot more room and a nice view.
We all try our best to be “green” yearly. But a lot of items still come in plastic packaging and some businesses still use plastic straws. Try to reduce what you can and where you can’t, don’t fret too much. Contribute what you can. One reusable water bottle equates to 167 plastic water bottles. One cloth towel equates to 7,300 paper towels. The more you use eco friendly products and recycle, the better off our earth will be. We can’t get rid of garbage completely but any way we can save, reuse and recycle, we should.