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You can have a ‘Green’ Thanksgiving
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Keep Liberty Beautiful is a county program that promotes our environment.

Thanksgiving is this week! I know with COVID-19, it may look a little different, but it still can be a wonderful time of the year! You may wonder how you can have a nice Thanksgiving dinner and Be Green!  Being Green can happen by adjusting some preparations for the holiday.  According to RecycleWorks, household waste increases by more than 25 percent from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  You should start thinking about being environmentally Green now. Thanksgiving Day is an American holiday loaded with tradition, so why not create a new tradition in your family and Go Green.  You can make Thanksgiving a green and eco-friendly celebration from start to finish.  It is not as hard as you think.

This is the time of year that we all can take a few minutes out of our busy schedule to make a green holiday plan.  This plan would include a smart shopping list, food planning, more natural decorations, eco-friendly cleanup supplies, and time to relax and enjoy your family time safely.  

First up: plan your shopping, so you use your time and fuel wisely. Do not forget to use those reusable shopping bags. Look for organic foods and products with minimal packaging that offer the most opportunities to recycle.  Try to keep track, from year to year, how much food is left over each year so you can make a more efficient, less wasteful Thanksgiving dinner in the future.  

This year, you may celebrate with smaller groups, so buy food according to your party’s size.  This will reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying only as much as you need and choosing as many products that you can that come in packaging that can be recycled.  Encourage your guests to pitch in and clearly mark your recycling bins.  Recycling all packaging and any beverage containers will significantly reduce the number of times you have to take the trash out and the amount of garbage you send to the landfill.

During the holidays, people waste a tremendous amount of food.  That waste amount to about 28 billion pounds of edible food each year. That is more than 100 pounds of food per person!  One of the best ways to reduce your waste this Thanksgiving is to plan ahead for the meal and practicing portion control. 

Use Less Stuff created a handy list of approximate per person food and drink portions:

Turkey: 1 pound

Stuffing: ¼ pound

Sweet potato casserole: ¼ pound

Green beans: ¼ pound

Cranberry relish: 3 tablespoons

Pumpkin pie: 1/8 of a 9-inch pie

If you buy local, not only can you enjoy fresh food, but you will also support our local economy. Check for farmers markets, family farms, community-supported agriculture programs, and u-pick options in your area for the freshest produce, like eggs, dairy, and grass-fed meat. 

Use water on tap. Lose the plastic bottled water that creates enormous plastic waste.  Check out on the counter and system water purifiers to get your healthiest water that you can use in reusable beverage holders.  If you have several dishes that need to be in the oven at the same temperature, put them in simultaneously to reduce energy use and prep time. 

Consider composting your kitchen scraps. 

Composting kitchen scraps can have a significant impact. Twenty-four percent of the waste Americans send to landfills is organic waste, meaning kitchen scraps and leftovers. Keeping that waste out of landfills is essential.  

Use your lovely china and cloth napkins.  It is a holiday! And you have all these built-in kitchen helpers and dishwashers sitting around your table!  If disposable place settings are your only choice, opt for biodegradable and compostable utensils, napkins, and plates, such as those from The average dishwasher uses between 7 and 15 gallons of water per cycle. After the meal, be sure to fill the dishwasher to capacity before running it to save water and energy.

When it comes to decorations, go natural. Use candles made from soy or vegetable wax. Soy wax is clean-burning, without soot or harmful emissions, and has a low melting point, burning at a cooler temperature.  Decorate your table with natural and homemade festive decor. Fill clear vases with pinecones, acorns, and colorful leaves. Carve small slits in wine corks, and slide in a piece of paper with a guest’s name to create unique, upcycled place settings.  Add a little extra fun to your table with homemade decorations.  With a few simple supplies and a little imagination, you can make incredible eco-friendly Thanksgiving decorations and have a lot of fun in the process as a family. Have the children participate in a pre-Thanksgiving craft day. 

Here are some easy ideas:

Dried leaf place cards

Corn or leaf print placemats

Pinecone turkeys

Painted or polished up gourds

Festive arrangements of pumpkins or corn cobs

Make your own fruit or vegetable basket

Once the party is over, it’s time to decide what to do with all that leftover food. Make sure your guests all take some leftovers in reusable containers.  Don’t forget to donate any other leftovers to a local charity.  But make sure you save some for yourselves. After all, one of the best Thanksgiving traditions is enjoying those leftovers the next day.  

Consider planting a tree each Thanksgiving. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen in return. Planting one tree may not seem to make much of a difference, but, in one year, the average tree absorbs roughly 26 pounds of carbon dioxide and returns enough oxygen to provide for the needs of a family of four.  

A green Thanksgiving will enrich your family’s holiday experience because you will know that you have made the world a little brighter by reducing your impact on the environment.  And that’s something we all can be thankful for.  Whatever else you do on Thanksgiving, make sure to ‘give thanks’!  This year has been a crazy one, so take this opportunity to say thank you to the people in your life!  Life is too short and precious, not to cherish your loved ones.  

Use the moments you have to let people know that you are thankful for them. 

If your circumstances prevent you from spending Thanksgiving with some of the people you love, give them a call, have a Zoom meeting, or send an email to tell them why they mean so much to you.  

The Keep Liberty Beautiful Staff would like you to know that we are always Thankful for Liberty County’s support, and we wish you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!  

If you have any questions or need to contact us about KLB programs, please call us at (912) 880-4888 or email  We appreciate You, and Enjoy the Holiday! 

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