Plan it Out
It’s that time of year. The holidays are here, and for many of us that means a whole lotta cooking, cleaning, and of course, eating! Whether that means creating entirely vegan meals to trying out the elusive Turducken, we’re here to help you make the whole season a little more sustainable!
You’re an eco-friendly superstar; your friends and family just don’t know it yet. Get everyone excited about their upcoming sustainable holiday party by sending out personalized invites. Ditch the wasteful traditional paper cards, and upgrade to our 100% post-consumer paper holiday cards, or send an E-Invite! Your guests will love getting a physical letter in the mail, without the guilt of throwing it away (they’re recyclable!). So shout it from the rooftops, it’s sustainable holiday time!
Your traditional grocery store is probably going to be packed with last minute shoppers fighting over honey hams and canned yams. Don’t join them, beat em’. This year, don’t forget your reusable grocery sacks and veggie produce bags when you head to the local farmer’s market or organic produce store, and buy fresh, pesticide-free fruits and veggies for your dishes. You could even plan your menu around what’s in season, so your meal contains only the ripest, freshest fruits and veggies.
If you can’t make it to your farmers’ market, don’t stress, you can still be sustainable. When picking through produce, go against your gut and don’t pick the pretty stuff (whaaa?). If you’re gonna turn apples into apple pie, select the apples with tiny bruises, or a unique color. These little imperfections often result in produce not being chosen and ending up as food waste before it even leaves the grocery store. By selecting items that look a little funky, you’re reducing waste and still getting great produce for your meal.
Set the Table
You have a 5-star sustainable holiday dinner so far, so don’t fork it up. Say goodbye to all single-use utensils, plates, cups, and napkins, opting instead for reusable alternatives that keep trash from landfills and make your table look great. Go for a rustic vibe with natural bamboo coasters and bamboo utensils.
If you have a cabinet overflowing with old cups and plates, instead of shopping this season, go for a repurposed shabby chic look by mixing and match colors and styles. Get old shower curtain holders to use as “napkin rings”, and stick them on your reusable organic cotton napkins for a non-disposable alternative. The conversation should be overflowing–your trash can shouldn’t.
You want your Thanksgiving/Holiday party to be entirely unique. So why buy mass-produced, disposable holiday decor that only gets used once? Infuse nature into your table decor with everyday items like wildflowers in mason jars, or branches and pinecones placed delicately as centerpieces. Add a few soy-candles or small succulents to the mix, and you have yourself all-natural, sustainable holiday decorations your guests will be gushing over! For a final touch, set the mood with some dinner party vibes with a stylish, upcycled material Vinyl Turntable!
The Main Event
When you tell your dinner guests they’ll be enjoying a sustainable meal, you may get a couple grunts and groans from those meat-lovers who haven’t experienced how glorious vegan meals can be when prepared well! If this sounds like your sitch, instead of changing your entire menu, simply substitute one classic dish with a vegan option (like a cashew cream Green Bean Casserole, yum!). When you incorporate more veggies and less meat into dishes, you help reduce water consumption, as a pound of beef requires 100x more water to be produced than a pound of wheat. But at the end of the day, it’s all about steps in the right direction–so the priority is to look for seasonal, fresh, and plastic-free packaged food (when possible!) that you know your family and friends will love.
When it comes to passing the mashed potatoes, only put on your plate what you know you’ll be able to finish (you can always go back for seconds!). By joining the Clean Plate Club, you reduce the amount of half-eaten food that ends up in the trashcan, and maximize the amount of yummy leftovers! Take it a step further and get yourself a compost bin and bags, so your guests can compost any potential leftovers.
Get Sipping Sustainably
No matter what you’re sipping, opt for a package free alternative to plastic bottles or aluminum cans. If you absolutely need single-use drinks, make sure you provide a labeled recycling bin for your guests. When it comes to water, give everyone a stainless steel pint glass, or even compostable cups, set pitchers of filtered sink water or homemade soda water out, and everyone will have a refreshing drink in between bites of stuffing.
If “dinner party” sounds a lot like “wine” to you, search for biodynamic wines that are low-impact on the planet. Make sure you recycle those wine bottles though! Plus, keep everyones wine chilled all night with insulated wine tumblers!
If your guests prefer a chilly 6-pack of beer, we have a zero-waste way to keep everyone refreshed. Instead of collecting aluminum cans and glass beer bottles, grab a insulated steel growler or two and head down to your local brewery. Fill up those bad boys, then relax and have a drink, cause they’ll keep your craft beer icy for up to 120 hours.
Clean Up Green
After a long day of cooking, cleaning is the last thing you want to do. Make less work for yourself by setting up recycling, compost, and trash bins with clear labels for your guests. By the end of the night, you’ll have less sorting to do, and more time for post-turkey napping. You can use your compost for a new garden, or simply have it collected. 27% of all American ready-for-consumption food is wasted, costing the economy nearly $48 billion. By encouraging friends and family to take home leftovers and compost the rest, you can help reduce the amount of food that ends up in the landfill!
Go with non-toxic utensils and serving items, made from materials like silicone or bamboo that are machine washable, so you can just toss those in with the rest of your dirty dishes. But before you press start, there’s a green way to machine wash. Skip the pre-rinse, and lower the heat for a more energy friendly clean. For the rest of the house, pick your favorite toxin-free natural cleaner product, and you’ll have a 100% green clean.
Whether you’re giving leftovers to guests that night, keeping them in your fridge for a snack, or having a Black Friday leftover party, you’re gonna want to keep them fresh. For items like soup and gravy, try a stainless steel food canister, vacuum sealed for maximum taste the next day. Cover your bowls, dishes, and pies with Bee’s Wrap, a natural alternative to plastic wrap that also keeps bread and cheese ready to eat. For everything else, toss the leftovers into a molded bamboo bowl, with an easy on and off lid for simple storing and snacking. Our favorite leftover hack? Stasher’s silicone bags. They’re freezer safe, oven safe, sous vide safe, dishwasher safe, and come in a variety of sizes to stash everything from leftover turkey to the smallest of snacks.
You’re bound to have leftovers after cooking, but have you ever thought of making another dish with those leftovers? We promise, it’s simple. As you cut veggies, debone meat, and season stuffing, throw any and all edible scraps into a large soup pot with water, and let it simmer while you continue cooking. After dinner you’ll have a delicious veggie or turkey broth soup with all the flavors of Thanksgiving, and way less food scraps to throw away. Everybody wins.
That’s a Wrap!
The house is clean, bellies are full, and leftovers are ready in the fridge. Another holiday season for the books, but with a green twist! Now that you’ve got the skills for sustainable holiday hosting, share what you’ve learned with friends and family for maximum impact. Together we can encourage the people in your life to carry the new tradition of sustainable holiday parties to this new year!
Share some of your favorite ways to make the holidays a little more sustainable in the comments below!