Have a ‘Green’ Thanksgiving!

Sustainability and Green Building
Contact: Sustainability and Green Building

As you begin your Thanksgiving holiday preparations, consider incorporating these environmentally-friendly choices into your holiday routine.

Buy Local

Food transported by truck over hundreds or thousands of miles burns fuel and produces carbon emissions that are harmful to air quality. By buying locally when possible, you help cut down on the harmful effects on the environment.

As an added benefit, your produce will be much fresher and you will help support your local community’s farms, businesses and economy.

Buy Organic

Organic farming processes do not use chemical pesticides and fertilizers on the produce or growth hormones in animal feed. These chemicals can seep into the soil and the runoff can contaminate the local water supply.

Use Cloth Napkins

Choose to use cloth napkins over paper napkins, thereby reducing the amount of waste going to landfills. Your pocketbook also benefits since cloth napkins are cheaper in the long run.

Light Candles

If you use candles at the dinner table, choose beeswax or soy candles. They burn cleaner and longer than traditional petroleum or paraffin wax candles — sometimes twice as long!


Don’t just pull out the cans for recycling, you may find that other articles can be recycled as well, including glass jars, plastic wrapping, boxes and cartons.

Stay Local

Consider staying at home rather than traveling to a relative’s house. Invite your neighbors over instead to help create a festive atmosphere and cut down on the fuel and pollution that result from long-distance driving or flying.

If you need or want to travel, check out more environmentally-friendly options. Rent a hybrid vehicle or carpool with other family members.

Make It To-Go

Rather than putting pounds of leftovers in the refrigerator to be neglected and eventually thrown away, give your guests food to take home with them. Put the food in reusable containers that can be washed and used again.

Decorate Naturally

Instead of buying Thanksgiving decorations at the store, consider using items you find around your yard and neighborhood such as colorful fall leaves, pine cones and flowers from your garden.

These are a few quick and easy ways to be more environmentally friendly this holiday season. To find ways to make longer-term, green changes in your home, check out NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building information.