- Consider your food miles - I know I just posted about this, but try to get your food locally if you can. Check out farmers markets and CSA's and you'll save some money, save on fuel spent getting those eats to your plate, and help support your local community rather than some big corporation 1000 miles away.
- Bring and Use Live Flowers - A lot of people like to bring flowers as a present, and/or use them as a decoration for their holiday table. While this definitely spruces things up, wouldn't a live plant from a local nursery be better? You can find really nice seasonal plants and rather than ending up in the trash, a year from now your friends can still be enjoying them. If you're sending rather than bringing, at least check out some organic possibilities which are a little lighter on the environment.
- Skip the wrap - If you're planning on bringing a gift with you, skip the wrapping paper and deliver your gift inside another gift. A re-usable bag with a gift inside of it only makes you cooler (woooeeeee, two gifts in one) and you can always go with a nice bottle of wine wrapped up Furoshiki style! And if you can't decide on what to bring them, what's Thanksgiving without a worm bin?
- Don't Forget the Three R's - Refuse, Re-Use, Recycle - I know it's the holidays, and everyone from Bob the guy down the street to your Aunt Fanny and her weird dog are coming over, but just because you've got a houseful of guests, it doesn't mean you need to take a day off from the 3 Rs. In fact, by asking your friends to help you clear the table accordingly, you can teach them a thing or two and pass some things on ("Yes Aunt Fanny, Fifi can have the turkey scraps but the squash you didn't eat should go into the worm bin...what's that? Oh, its that square thingy on the center of the table.")
- Can the cans (and bottles) - A lot of people like to put out bottled water and cans of soda or beer when company comes. Bottled water is horrible for a number of reasons and cans are not much better. If you are going with soft drinks, at least buy larger bottles and have people pour their own, or if you are really industrious, how about making juice or (gulp) serving water out of the tap?
- Skip the paper - You've got company coming over for crying out loud, what are you breaking out the paper plates and paper napkins for? Go for the fine china and if you don't, at least use your regular dishes. It makes no sense to buy a plate, use it once and throw it out. As far as napkins, try and find some cloth napkins. They may cost you a bit more, but think how much you'll save over the long term, both in resources and in cash, not to mention that your sister in law Agnus will think you're the bomb!
- Give your leftovers to someone who really needs it - Most people make a ton of food when company comes and often there are more than enough leftovers to go around. Freeze what you'll eat and save it up for the weeks to come (tupperware rather than plastic or foil please) and if you have more than enough, why not make up a plate or two, put it in an extra re-usable container you may have lying around with some silverware, and give it to someone on the street who may be down on their luck. Sadly, I fear many of us live near those that need some help and if Thanksgiving is really about giving thanks, shouldn't we extend that to helping others?
- Craigslist your oil - Thinking of deep frying that tofu turducken and don't know what to do with the ten gallons of barely used peanut oil? Don't throw it out for heavens sake, pop it onto craigsilist and some oddball greaser like myself will gladly come and take it off your hands.
- Plan Ahead - As you are making your dinner pans and deciding what to cook, think about where your ingredients came from, how they will be used and what will happen to the scraps and leftovers when you are done. If you take a few minutes and consider it, I can promise you you'll keep your holiday waste down to a minimum and feel better when you are done
Monday, November 24, 2008
Waste not, want not: from 365 Days of Trash
Simple ideas to help you waste less through the holiday season, from Dave the guy who has decided to deal with his own trash for a year: (Here's a piece from the NYT about Dave, our hero)