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Your Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Checklist

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? There are numerous things that may make you anxious about the big day, but one of them shouldn't be how to keep it eco-friendly. Here is my checklist for things you should do now to have a happy and eco-friendly Thanksgiving Day.
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Served split roasted stuffed small turkey and vegetables,from above and blank space
Served split roasted stuffed small turkey and vegetables,from above and blank space

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? There are numerous things that may make you anxious about the big day, but one of them shouldn't be how to keep it eco-friendly. Here is my checklist for things you should do now to have a happy and eco-friendly Thanksgiving Day:

Clean Your House
Even if you are not hosting this year's big event, you will probably be entertaining guests at some point during this holiday season. Spend the days before Thanksgiving preparing your home for guests doing a deep clean of every room where company will gather. Purchase eco-friendly cleaning supplies (or make your own with these ideas) and use this time as an opportunity to update supplies such as toiletries and linens as well clean items you may not use often like silverware. A paste of cornstarch and water will make silver look new again!

Buy Some Candles
I love this idea from actress, speaker and author Rachelle Carson-Begley: "Every Thanksgiving, we make it a point not to turn on the lights in the evening. We light candles around the table and all over our home." Use unscented candles to avoid competing with the delicious food scents and consider adding candlelight to your outdoor space as well. You can make festive tin can luminaries for a porch or walkway.

Borrow a Roasting Pan
According to an article on Gaiam.com, "if everyone in the United States used a disposable roasting pan to cook their Thanksgiving turkey, there would be 46 million tinfoil pans heading to the landfill every year." This year, borrow a heavy-duty roasting pan from a friend or family member or invest in one yourself. I promise you will use it numerous times during the busy holiday season.

Shop Locally
"There's a reason why traditional Thanksgiving food happens to be in season," writes Alden Wicker. "That's because the holiday celebrates the bounty the Pilgrims and Native Americans were able to gather together from their surrounding environment." Use the items found in your current CSA harvest (that may include cabbage, kohlrabi, mixed potatoes, butternut squash and Brussels sprout) or find a local farm or farmers' market that not only gives you local fruit and veggie options, but also has free-range turkey, fresh seafood and organic bakery items. Keep in mind that not all farmers' markets are still open late in November. Checkout LocalHarvest.org for a list of markets in your area.

Think about Your Leftovers
Who doesn't enjoy a day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich? To make sure all your guests continue to feast on the literal fruits of your labor, ask them to bring their own reusable containers for leftovers and have them throw food scraps into your compost pile. Remember that meat and dairy products should not be composted, so keep the kitchen scraps to things such as potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce.

Travel Smart
Be eco-smart if you must travel to your Thanksgiving dinner destination. Consider using alternate modes of transportation such as biking, walking or public transportation. If you must take a car, carpool with other relatives and make sure your vehicle is in good working condition including properly inflated tires -- tires that are underinflated have a negative affect on fuel efficiency.

Talk to us: How will you keep your Thanksgiving a bit more eco-friendly this year?