Thanksgiving is an American holiday loaded with tradition, so why not start a new tradition by making Thanksgiving an eco-friendly celebration? There are simple steps you can take to make your holidays more environmentally conscience:
Food waste accounts for 18% of municipal solid waste sent to landfills. That�s over 30 million tons of food waste each year! Reduce food consumption with better planning. Know how many people you expect to feed and what their preferences are. Reuse already-cooked food in another recipe. Leftover turkey is great for soups and casseroles. Recycle food by composting. If you don�t already have a compost bin, use your Thanksgiving fruit and vegetable trimmings to start one. Find instructions at this guide to Mulching and Composting.
Get the freshest possible ingredients for your mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies by visiting your local farmer�s market. If you can�t find a farmer�s market in your area, try to purchase as many locally-grown ingredients at the grocery store as you can. Buying locally grown food supports the local economy, reduces emissions from refrigeration and transportation, and cuts back on packing materials.
Cook with ceramic, cast-iron or glass cookware pots and pans. Compared to traditional nonstick pans coated with Teflon, pots and pans made with ceramic-based nonstick technology take less time to heat the surface, because of the excellent heat conductivity of the aluminum they are made from. Cast-iron and glass cookware also retain heat well and minimize preheating time which conserves energy. You can also conserve energy by using your microwave. An oven requires enough energy to heat the entire compartment, but a microwave only needs energy to heat the food.
Decorate naturally. Collect pine cones and acorns and put them in a clear glass bowl. Gather leaves and branches and place in tall vases wrapped with ribbon. Let the kids help.
Find other ways to conserve and recycle with this EPA booklet.
America Recycles Day (americarecyclesday.org) was Saturday, November 15. As a community leader, teacher, or employee, pick a project, and encourage those around you to join. Make it easy for them. Provide clear and easy steps for them to participate, and explain why it�s important.
Recycle for charity. Goodwill.org accepts shirts, shoes, blankets, electronics and other items for resale. When someone later buys your items, Goodwill uses that money to fund job training and other services in your local community.
RecyclingforCharities.com collects old wireless cell phones, PDA�s, iPods, and digital cameras and in turn donates money to your favorite charity. Options include nationwide organizations such as American Red Cross (redcross.org) and Special Olympics (specialolympics.org) as well as local animal shelters and churches. If the items cannot be reused, Recycling for Charities will break down and separate components for resale. No items they collect will end up in a landfill.
Have a pair of eyeglasses in your junk drawer? Donate them to a charity such as Lions Club or an optical store, and they will distribute them to people that cannot afford eyewear. Give others the gift of sight so that that they can be more successful at school and work.
Recycle for Rewards. Some companies offer money back for donating items you no longer use. Apple�s Recycling Program and the AT&T Trade-in Program, for example, allow you to send them your old devices for free. Depending on the condition and market for those items, you could receive money or gift cards in return. Have a cluttered bookshelf? HalfPriceBooks.com gives you cash on the spot for your unwanted books.
Get creative. Turn glass bottles into your favorite candle holders, flower pots or soap dispensers. Make magnets out of bottle caps or broken jewelry. Get with the kids, and make bird feeders out of tin cans or milk cartons. The options are limitless.
Companies have gotten creative, too. Nike has several programs that focus on sustainability, including Reuse-A-Shoe that grinds down worn out athletic shoes and recycles the parts. The shoe�s outsole turns into rubber for running tracks and playground surfaces, and the midsole can be made into cushion for basketball and tennis courts. Nike has also diverted over two billion plastic bottles from landfills by transforming plastic bottles into polyester that is woven into premium fabric for performance apparel. On average, nine recycled bottles emerge as a jersey.
Take Care of Texas News You Can Use, takecareoftexas.org, November 5, 2014
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Meeting and banquet facilities are using pourers for sugar, pitchers for cream and small serving dishes for butter and jellies rather than individually wrapped servings.