How to Host a Great Thanksgiving Without Ruining the Planet

For many, the holidays are one of the more stressful times of year. Between cooking for a motley crew of relatives, having to deal with that one uncle who doesn’t believe in climate change, and figuring out how to stay sane through it all, Thanksgiving isn’t the laid-back day with friends and family that Nicole Westbrook’s seminal 2012 song “It’s Thanksgiving” would make you think it is.

On top of all of this, dear Earther-lings, is your overwhelming sense of need to do right by the planet as you prepare to glut your friends and family with food. Lucky for you, there are actionable things you can do to make your Thanksgiving celebration a good one, both for you and for the Earth.


Consider this for a second: household waste in the United States increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Years. It’s terrible, but you can do something about it. When inviting your guests over for Thanksgiving, ask them to BYOTupperware so they can bring home food instead of leaving you with too much turkey to reasonably get through before it spoils.

As always, you can also opt for reusable plates and cups instead of plastic ones—or, if you really can’t fathom having to wash that many dishes after your guests leave, use plates made from compostable materials! And if you’re feeling really generous to the planet, you can skip the turkey this year. Of course, we understand if that’s unacceptable—but at least buy a bird that was sustainably raised.

Check out our video for the rest of our tips and tricks to make your Thanksgiving sustainable without having to sacrifice your sanity.

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About the author

Emily Lipstein

social media editor @ gizmodo + earther