Making a few changes ahead of time can really “green up” your holiday as you give thanks for family, friends, good fortune and the beautiful world around you.
An average household’s waste often increases by 25 per cent from November to January. By planning ahead for cleaning, shopping, decorating and tidying up afterward, it’s easy to make little adjustments that add up to big benefits for our planet.
Cleaning the Natural Way
Keep your home clean and fresh by choosing natural, non-toxic cleaning products or by using staples in your own pantry.
- Baking soda sprinkled on a wet sponge is a good abrasive scrub for spots and stains on tubs, tile and sinks.
- Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water to make windows sparkle.
- Clean and deodorize the microwave without chemicals; just use warm water scented with ¼ teaspoon vanilla.
Fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally will enhance your Thanksgiving meal. Washington is a proud supporter of organic and sustainable agriculture. Remember guests that are vegan, vegetarian or have food allergies when planning a menu that all can enjoy.
- Look for locally grown fall vegetables at their peak, such as artichokes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, parsnips, sweet potatoes and winter squash.
- Consider vegetarian holiday dishes such as stuffed acorn squash with corn bread dressing and chestnut gravy.
- Cruise the bulk food aisle to save money and reduce unnecessary packaging.
- Bring your reusable grocery bags. Keep them in the car so you don’t forget them.
Before the celebration begins, set up a recycling center in an obvious place.
- Let them know where to throw! Simply place three clean bins together, each labeled with a sign for glass, aluminum and paper.
- Guests can easily dispose of empty cans, bottles and other “trash.” Your cleanup afterward will be easier, too.
Refreshing the Table
It’s harvest time, so why not show off natural elements in their… natural element. Call it sustainable decorating.
- Herbs make a lovely, aromatic centerpiece when each plant is featured in a small galvanized metal container in a single row down the center of the table.
- A casual arrangement of artichokes, red grapes and white mini pumpkins is simply beautiful in a low white bowl.
- For a soot-free, chemical-free and artificial fragrance-free golden glow, use 100% pure beeswax candles with cotton wicks.
Tidying Up Afterward
Planning ahead for leftovers avoids waste, and enlisting help in the kitchen saves water and energy.
- Encourage guests to bring their own recyclable containers for leftovers. They get more of the good stuff. It all goes to a good home instead of the back of your refrigerator.
- The average dishwasher can use up to 15 gallons of water per cycle. To save on water and energy, keep the sink full of hot, soapy water. Scrape dishes and let them soak as you tidy up. Then ask a few helpers to wash, rinse, dry and put away as you continue your conversations. Guests DO like to help.
- Be sure to compost your kitchen scraps. Composting keeps food waste out of landfills and will help you enrich your garden beds in the spring.