Don’t Let Gratitude Go to Waste – How to Celebrate a More Sustainable Thanksgiving


Don’t let gratitude go to waste. As you gather with your loved ones this November, stop to consider the spirit of Thanksgiving. It’s more than a holiday of food, football, and finalizing shopping plans. It’s a time we gather to give thanks for the blessings of our lives and the harvest of the preceding year. And, and if we aren’t careful, that gratitude can quickly go to waste given how much we consume.

Explore these dos and don’ts to celebrate a more sustainable Thanksgiving:


  • Make it fancy. That’s right – pull out the china, glasses, and silverware or the stainless steel version of it – even bring out the cloth napkins. Fabric napkins not only look better, they’re reusable, washable, and can be matched to your tablescape or theme.
  • Go natural or use upcycled decorations. Embrace the magic of the season and craft these with yourself or your friends and family.
  • Plan ahead to avoid food waste. As hard as it may be, confirm that loved ones plan to attend the holiday meal to prevent wasted food. Purchasing pre-cut produce or asking that produce be sliced while you’re at the store can help prevent overbuying and wasting. 
  • Get creative and rethink leftovers. No one wants to cook after a big meal or get together. Your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers can be a lifesaver during the holidays.
  • Remember to set out your in-home recycling container during meals and family gatherings. Make it as easy to recycle as it is to throw something away. Twin the bin by placing your recycling bin beside the trash can. You can even make a free sign to highlight items accepted for recycling in your community.


  • Don’t try to recycle masks, wipes, and gloves in your curbside or drop-off recycling program.
  • Don’t forget to check your recycling day. Your local recycling collectors and drop-off location staff are also celebrating so remember to check with your local program for recycling center hours and adjusted collection days.
  • Don’t assume the same items are accepted for recycling in every community. While there may be many items that are recyclable, not all recyclables are accepted in every community. 
  • Don’t forget to consider these green holiday gift ideas and decorating tips.

Each year, it’s estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Americans produce 25% more waste compared with the rest of the year, but in the spirit of gratitude and giving thanks, small changes can have a big impact at reducing waste and protecting our planet on Thanksgiving and all year long. 

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