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FootprintNov 23 20222 min read

How to Have a Plastic-Free Thanksgiving

Written By: Christine Figgener


Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of the holiday season, a time to relax and enjoy the company of our loved ones. Still, unfortunately, it also contributes to the flood of plastic entering the waste stream. Americans create 25% more trash during the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year. The largest meal of the year can increase your plastic footprint substantially.


But, it does not have to be that way. You can help by making your household plastic-free this holiday season. We gathered five tips on how to create a plastic-free Thanksgiving in your home. Or at least use less plastic than you did the last year! 


Make a Game Plan

Plan out the food items needed for your dishes, the number of guests, and the utensils required for the day. 


Have a well-thought-out shopping list before going to the grocery store, making your trip easier. Try purchasing your food without packaging or packed in aluminium, glass, or card box. 

Make sure to bring enough reusable shopping bags to bag your groceries later on and produce bags for your fresh vegetables and fruits. 


Extra Tip: Let your guests know that your Thanksgiving will be plastic-free, and ask them to bring reusable containers and utensils instead of plastic ones. 


When taking home leftovers, make sure to use glass jars and containers rather than plastic zip-lock bags. 


Make from Scratch 

Most pre-made items are packaged in plastic. Instead of purchasing items wrapped in plastic this Thanksgiving, make your meals from scratch. Not only will the food taste better, but this will significantly reduce the amount of plastic you use. 


Shop at Farmer’s Markets and Plastic-Free Stores

Grab a bunch of vegetables and fruits for your Thanksgiving meal at your local farmer’s market. Buy potatoes to make mashed potatoes, green beans for green bean casserole, and a loaf of fresh bread from a local baker to make stuffing. 


Milk and other Beverages in Glass Bottles

A lot of side dishes require milk. When purchasing milk, try to buy it in a glass bottle rather than a plastic jug. 


Extra Tip: You can purchase most beverages in glass bottles instead of plastic ones: apple cider, beer, sodas, and wine.



Don’t use plastic plates or plastic utensils. Instead, elevate your dining table by using lovely dinnerware. If you do not have china, check out your local thrift shops. While you’re at it, opt for cloth napkins as well. 


Extra Tip: For table décor, pass on plastic decorations. Instead, pick fresh flowers or buy potted plants, arrange a bouquet for the center of the table, and place a cloth table runner underneath.


We hope that you will have beautiful Thanksgiving!