With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it’s a special time to come together with family and friends for a delicious meal and reflect on the many things to be grateful for. Unfortunately, this time of thankfulness tends to also become a time of wastefulness, as studies show that people living in America produce 25% more waste during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
As we plan out all the dishes that will be on our tables this year, it’s important to consider the impact that certain holiday traditions have on the planet and commit to greening dining festivities. That’s something for which everyone can be thankful, but it’s particularly meaningful for children, older adults and those who suffer from lung diseases that make them especially vulnerable to poor air quality.
Start by sourcing as many of your ingredients as possible locally to help reduce emissions produced by transport trucks. The less your produce has to travel, the less waste is produced, and the smaller the environmental impact. With so many loved ones gathered at the table for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s also not uncommon for regular plates, cups, napkins and silverware to be swapped out for disposables. Instead of buying tableware for one-time use, opt for your favorite set of dishes this year since small changes can lead to a much bigger effect, helping to keep the region’s air quality in healthier ranges.
With the holiday season also comes the spending season, where so many take advantage of can’t-miss deals this time of year. For those who want to shop but avoid the lines, Cyber Monday offers all the benefits of Black Friday shopping but from the comfort and convenience of your home, creating a stress-free experience that helps reduce environmental impact and improve air quality. Keep in mind that consolidating your online orders to one store also eliminates the need for excess packaging. Moreover, if you’re planning to purchase any electronics or appliances, go for the best green alternatives by checking for the ENERGY STAR® mark. ENERGY STAR-certified products use less energy than standard models, ultimately saving money on utility bills while helping to protect the environment and clear the air. You can also make sustainable purchase decisions by choosing products made from eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton or recycled plastic, or buying an experience to gift.
This Thanksgiving, when counting life’s blessings and listing those things to be grateful for, don’t forget to add clean air to the list. And thank you for all you do so we can all breathe easier. To learn more, visit our website tips section at www.cleanair-stlouis.com, like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.