Tips for planning a sustainable holiday meal

Tips for planning a sustainable holiday meal

It can be fun to get together to celebrate a holiday during this happy time of year. It usually involves a gathering of people and more than likely food and drink. You can have fun while taking care of the environment. Avoiding waste and being considerate of Mother Nature is easy if you keep this in mind during planning and during a celebration.

Here are some tips to ensure you’re mindful of the environment when planning your holiday meals this season


Consider using natural materials like leaves, fruit or flower cuttings to add a festive vibe to your home. Using nature as inspiration, for example to be the centerpiece of your table, is a smart way to eliminate the need to buy wasteful disposable items. Using nature’s vibrant color palette can also be stunning and complement your food and drinks. Get inspiration from The Cottage Market for natural decorations.

meal planning

Once you know your guest list, create a meal plan and write a shopping list. With the help of Save the Food’s Guest Imator, determine how much food you should buy so you don’t over-buy, which can lead to food waste.

Shop local and seasonal

Being able to support local farms and buy what’s in season reduces the distance your food has to travel from farm to fork. You can find out what’s in season and available near you by visiting Cook with the Seasons.

Consider less meat and more plant-based menu options

Meat contributes massively to greenhouse gases and if we can avoid meat and replace it with plants, we reduce our carbon footprint. Find some interesting plant-centric recipes from Planted365.

reduce plastic waste

Set the tone for a low-waste gathering by asking your guests to bring their own reusable containers so you can send them home with leftovers. Alternatively, make sure you have compostable to-go containers, like World Centric’s Store & Go containers, to offer your guests plant-based options that can be composted at a commercial facility.

Avoid single-use plastics

If you choose disposable tableware, plastic disposables are inconvenient as they are difficult to recycle. If it comes into contact with food, composting materials are the best choice as you can compost them along with any leftover food. Truly recyclable items are another good consideration, such as: B. Articles made of aluminum or glass. Be sure to rinse them before recycling, which ensures higher quality recycling.

Reduce food waste

Get creative with leftovers and leftovers. Try to use all of your ingredients. For example, you can make a broth from leftover turkey bones or a vegetable broth with vegetable peelings. Also, try to make new dishes from your leftovers so you don’t get bored of the same meals, such as: B. Turkey enchiladas or scrambled eggs with some leftover veggies.

Donate your edible leftovers

Don’t let edible food spoil. Find a local food bank that might be willing to take your leftovers.

Freeze your desired leftovers

If you want to store your food for later consumption, the freezer is your friend.

Compost your unwanted leftovers

Don’t throw away your leftovers. Food waste is the third largest contributor to methane, a very potent greenhouse gas and considered a short-lived climate pollutant. Compost your really inedible leftovers so they can become a nutrient rich soil amendment. If you don’t have a backyard composting system or access to a commercial composting service, consider donating your leftover food to a local animal feed farm.

Incorporating sustainability into your holiday celebrations isn’t difficult if you just plan ahead. Then enjoy your holiday even more knowing that you are doing your part to protect the environment. Get more tips on reducing waste around Thanksgiving and the holiday season from WorldCentric.

About the author

Erin Levine is the resource reclamation manager at World Centric. She has been involved in resource reclamation for 18 years and has focused specifically on the sale and marketing of finished compost for the last ten years. She has supported commercial composting facilities throughout the West Coast and has worked closely with the end users of compost, particularly the agricultural industry. Erin is a certified composting professional from the US Composting Council and a certified composting program manager from the Solid Waste Authority of North America.

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