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Zero Waste Thanksgiving


Zero Waste Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, being grateful, and… lots of food! If you are starting to plan your Thanksgiving meals for the holiday, consider these zero-waste tips to keep our landfills from getting stuffed!

Buy Local

Visit your local farmer’s market or grocery store instead of big chain supermarkets to buy the produce and poultry you need for your Thanksgiving meal. This not only reduces your carbon footprint but supports local farmers and agriculture. The money you spend will be put back into the local economy and used to invest in better farming equipment and practices, resulting in better yield and fresher foods.

Buy in Bulk

Consider bulk buying some of your products to reduce plastic packaging and save some money! Bulk buying doesn’t mean you need to buy family-sized bags of produce, you can just bring your own containers to designated stores and fill them based on your needs. For Thanksgiving, items to bulk buy include rice, potatoes, pasta, honey, spices, herbs, and vegetables. Check out this resource on How to Bulk Buy for more tips or type in “refill stores” on to find a bulk store near you! 


Avoid using single-use plastic. Instead, use plates, bowls, and cutlery already at home. If you don’t have enough, ask a friend or family member to bring their own. For larger parties, consider purchasing compostable dinnerware made from natural plant-based materials, which are biodegradable and a more sustainable option.

Make Turkey Broth

Did you know that turkey broth is beneficial for the bones and digestive system, and contains nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals essential to the body? Instead of throwing out the carcass and innards as you would normally, add them all into a large pot along with some onions, carrots, and celery, then cover everything with water and let it simmer for 4-6 hours. You can also find other recipes and ideas here on how to use the entire turkey and not waste a single part.


No matter how carefully you plan, you’re bound to have some leftovers. Make sure you make space in the fridge beforehand and use a vacuum sealer so the food stays fresher for longer periods of time. You can also use leftovers to make new recipes such as Thanksgiving leftover casserole using mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. Discover more delicious recipes here.

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and are able to put into practice at least some of our Zero Waste Thanksgiving tips! For tips and tricks on sustainability visit our blog at WasteFreeSD