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Red, orange and yellow leaves in a pile.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sustainability is not just about helping the environment – opting for sustainable methods can help your wallet as well! In this festive, and sometimes costly holiday season, there is a lot you can do to ensure your Thanksgiving is as sustainable as possible. By taking a closer look at your grocery needs and preventing food waste, you can actually save on your holiday budget – while being environmentally friendly.  

Food is the single biggest component of our country’s landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 25% more trash and 33% more food during the holidays. This extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage per year. Reducing waste reduces the need for new landfills which protects wildlife habitat! 

We’ve compiled some tips on how to enjoy a sustainable Thanksgiving this year:  

  • “Shop” your own refrigerator and pantry first, so that food does not go to waste and shopping needs are reduced. 
  • Buy food with thought. Make note of how many people you are serving and reduce waste by purchasing just enough to feed them all. 
  • Opt for reusable plates and cutlery. 
  • Purchase local and organic foods when possible. 
  • Add some color to your plate! Not only are fruits and vegetables good for you, but they are also climate friendly! 
  • Eat less meat. The meat industry is one of the largest producers of methane, which is a major contributor of climate change. Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, try opting for more side dishes and less meat. 
  • Make use of what you can’t eat on Thanksgiving Day. AllRecipes has dozens of leftovers recipes that sound just as yummy as the traditional dishes! 
  • Reuse or compost your food scraps. 
  • Consider safely sharing extra food with family or donating unopened, non-perishable food items to a local charity. (Always contact food rescue organizations in advance of a drop off.) 
  • Encourage family and friends to bring reusable containers to share Thanksgiving leftovers!  
  • Freeze Thanksgiving ingredients to use for future meals (for example: didn’t use the entire can of pumpkin? Freeze the leftovers in a reusable bag or ice cube tray to use later!) 

When giving thanks this year, make sure to give the Earth a “thank you” by being mindful of sustainability which helps wildlife and people thrive! 

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.