9 Tips to Help You Host a Sustainable Thanksgiving

9 Tips to Help You Host a Sustainable Thanksgiving

The holiday season is right around the corner— a time to eat delicious food and celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, with the holiday season also comes lots of waste. In fact, the U.S. creates 25% more waste during this season than any other time a year. 

But this year— let’s make it the exception! 

At GoSili, we want to invite you to have holiday fun without the heaps of waste. And to help you easily achieve it, we created this useful guide with everything you need to host an eco-friendly Thanksgiving. From sustainable decor to tackling food waste, you’ll find all the tips you need to celebrate responsibly. 

What Does it Mean to Have Eco-Friendly Holidays? 

Having an eco-friendly holiday season means celebrating in a conscious way. It doesn’t mean you have to take any fun away from the holiday season— you can still eat yummy food, host parties, and share presents. 

The only difference is that you plan these events to be just as fun as always, but with the planet in mind. This means reducing waste, ditching single-use plastic, and not falling for over-consumerism. 

The planet needs you— and it’s up to all of us to celebrate responsibly. For our future and our kid's future. 

The Wasteful Facts About Thanksgiving

Rotten apples sitting on the groundThanksgiving prevails as the biggest food waste day of the year. 

On this single holiday, we’re wasting over 200 million pounds of turkey. But this enormous amount of turkey is not heading to the landfill by itself. It’s served with a side of 40 million pounds of mashed potatoes and 30 million pounds of stuffing heading straight there too— along with heaps of cranberry sauce. 

There are 38 million Americans facing food insecurity, which makes the food waste statistics weigh a little heavier. As people continue to go hungry, we continue to waste enormous amounts of food. 

But this year, you can make a difference. 

With simple habit changes and by being mindful of these statistics, we can tackle food waste and plastic waste together. And in this guide, we’re showing you how. 

Tips for Sustainable Thanksgiving Decoration 

Decor for Thanksgiving sometimes is wasteful and unnecessary— especially if you’re buying it and disposing of it after one use. It’s totally okay to buy decor you plan on using for years to come, but the best course of action is to avoid cheap, plastic decorations that won’t last long. 

These are a few tips to keep your Thanksgiving decor affordable and eco-friendly. 

1. Gather Things From Nature

Thanksgiving table decorated with natural earth elements
Nature gives you absolutely anything you need for decor— especially around fall with colorful leaves and pinecones filling parks and forest floors. If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, opt for nature’s decor. 

Here’s some natural decor inspiration to get you started! Get creative with fruits, leaves, and plants to create stunning decor. Everything found in nature goes along with the Thanksgiving feel anyway, so it’s the perfect time to do it. 

2. Skip Single-Use Plastics— Go Back to the Basics Instead. 

We’re so reliant on plastic that it’s normalized to buy and dispose of it after a single use. But that plastic is going to outlive you for generations to come... A very impactful way to keep your Thanksgiving sustainable is by skipping all unnecessary plastic. 

These are a few ideas on where you can cut out plastic:

- Pack leftover food in reusable containers and/or silicone bags. 
- Ditch the cling wrap. 
- Don’t serve your food on disposable plastic plates, and use glass jars for drinking instead of plastic cups.
- Use cloth napkins. 
- Instead of single-use plastic straws, have reusable silicone straws!
- Have a big jug of water for people to serve themselves instead of having plastic bottled water.

    A women wearing a plaid button down shirt holding a bunch of silicone reusable straws on one hand and a travel case for the straws on the other hand
    Shop for our Thanksgiving-ready reusable silicone straws.

    A Sustainable Thanksgiving Feast for The Whole Family 

    The food you eat has a major impact on the environment. An easy and delicious way to help care for our planet is by taking a good look at your dinner plate. Here are a few tips to get you started… 

    3. Have Lots of Plant-Based Meals 

    This is one of the best ways to lower the impact of your Thanksgiving meal— eat lots of plants! The good thing is that a lot of the classic Thanksgiving meals are already meatless or can easily be made without meat.

    Some of these yummy dishes are stuffing, cranberry sauce, roasted veggies, salads, cornbread, etc. Instead of putting all the focus on meat dishes, make plant-based meals the star of the show. It’s healthier and better for the planet! 

    Here’s a list of delicious plant-based recipes for Thanksgiving the whole family will love! 

    4. Cook From Scratch 

    Holidays like Thanksgiving usually require lots of cooking— so make a day out of it! Instead of going for the pre-made plastic-packed foods, make your sauces and other foods from scratch. This not only makes for a way fresher and tastier meal— you save up money and waste! 

    5. Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market

    Since you’re cooking from scratch and putting together lots of plant-based meals, what better way to shop than the farmers market? Fresh veggies and bread make for better meals. Plus, you support your local economy and skip the unnecessary packaging that’s usually used at the supermarket. Don’t forget to bring your own bags!

    If you’re cooking turkey, try finding a local farmer raising turkeys for Thanksgiving. 

    6. Ditch The Classics That Tend to go to Waste

    There are many “typical” dishes that not too many people are fond of— like cranberry sauce. If you’re throwing out lots of cranberry sauce (or any other dish) year after year, simply skip it. There’s no need to make something that’s going to end up as waste anyway. 

    Here you’ll find plenty of ideas to repurpose your leftovers, in case you have any! 

    Tackling Food Waste While Giving Back to Your Community! 

    Laying on a wooden table is a cut out of foam paper that reads "thankful" in sparkly gold color along with Thanksgiving related shapes.
    Ready to be part of the solution in tackling food waste? Here’s what you can do. 

    7. Be Mindful of How Much Food You Need 

    Enormous amounts of food somehow became normalized in our society. At every event, there’s usually WAY more than you can eat. And this is creating a lot of food waste. Instead of serving a banquet of food that you know is most likely going to waste— make smaller portions. 

    There is no need to overcook and overserve. Try measuring the right amount of food for each dish. Here’s a super useful resource to help you calculate how much food you need to cook to serve your guests.

    8. Donate Your Leftovers 

    If you have more leftovers than you can handle— donate them. There are lots of shelters, food banks, and food rescue organizations that need your help. Instead of throwing them away, share your delicious food with people who need it. 

    To find a local place to donate food, simply search online “where to donate leftovers near me”. 

    9. Save and Freeze Your Leftovers

    Thanksgiving food is tasty— why waste it? Instead, batch-freeze it. You’ll have lots of containers with ready-to-eat food you can just thaw and enjoy. Don’t forget to ditch the clingwrap and single-use plastics and use reusables instead. 

    Ready for a Conscious Thanksgiving? 

    Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have and celebrating those things with our loved ones. It’s also the perfect time to be grateful for everything the planet gives you— water, food, beautiful landscapes, and so much more. 

    The best way to honor and thank our planet is to protect it. 

    Every little habit change is a step forward towards a better future. It can start small, by hosting a more eco-friendly Thanksgiving, and grow, by adapting all those habits into your everyday life. Every small step counts. 

    If you’re ready to embrace those small habit changes, visit our shop. Our eco-conscious products help you easily adjust to a low-waste lifestyle! 

    Shop for our sustainable + long-lasting silicone goodies. 

    Pink reusable silicone straw with decor sitting in front of some pumpkins
    Do you have any sustainable traditions for thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments!