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How to have a Safe, Sustainable Thanksgiving in 2020

2020 has been a year unlike any other and with the presence of COVID-19 still looming, celebrating the holidays we love may look different for many of us. Being environmentally conscious is still important, so whether you’re celebrating a socially distanced family Thanksgiving or preparing to shop for holiday gifts, there are steps you can take to protect our air quality and the environment. Check out these tips on how to have a safe and eco-friendly Thanksgiving.

Go Virtual

Instead of hosting a large family gathering this year, consider hosting a virtual one. It’s safe and limits unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. You’ll still get to chat with your loved ones and enjoy all your favorite Thanksgiving foods while keeping cars off the road and helping improve air quality.

Social Distance

If you still plan on hosting a gathering or heading to a favorite restaurant this holiday season, make sure to follow CDC recommendations for hosting events and eating in public. Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, and try to host the gathering outdoors or in an area with increased ventilation if possible.

Drive Smart

Thanksgiving is a time of heavy travel across the country and it’s important to make sure your car is ready for any trip you make. In order to prevent any unnecessary air pollution, make sure your car is caught up on maintenance and check traffic before you leave. Making sure you don’t get caught in traffic will save time and decrease the emissions you contribute to our atmosphere. Use the 511DFW app for iOS or Android as well as the website to check the roads ahead of your trip!

Consider Public Transportation

If you plan on making the commute to family or friends for Thanksgiving, consider using public transportation options like DART, Trinity Metro, or DCTA to make the trip. Make sure to check CDC guidelines on using public transportation before you head out. Making your commute using public transportation will keep extra vehicles off the roads, reducing emission amounts and improving the quality of our air.

Composting and Reworking Leftovers

When Thanksgiving is over and you’re wondering what to do with the leftovers you don’t want, consider composting them or reusing them for new entrees. Food waste is one of the leading causes of harmful emissions of methane, so if you don’t want to compost, rather than letting your food sit around, check out some recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers here, and here. By making use of your leftovers, you’ll be reducing the emissions caused by food waste and improving our air quality.

Don’t Smoke that Turkey!

Meat products are some of the worst contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, and smoking meat releases harmful emissions that taint our air quality, so this year consider trading turkey for tofurkey. Tofurkey is similar to other meat substitutes like plant burgers; it’s usually made from tofu with a stuffed center and makes for a delicious turkey substitute. Check out some recipes here. When you choose a meat substitute over smoked or baked meats, you’re choosing to help the environment you live in, so in a year full of change, try something new!

Shop Smart

Holiday shopping is going to look a little different with the presence of COVID-19, so instead of heading to the store to snag a deal, keep your eyes peeled online for Cyber Monday. Consider shopping locally when you can to reduce emissions from delivery vehicles, and don’t forget about buying experiences from sites like Groupon as an alternative gift option. There’s more than one way to give gifts sustainably; check out more ways by reading online. By weighing your gifting options carefully, you’ll be helping reduce emissions and possibly reducing your risk of exposure to the virus.

With these tips, your 2020 Thanksgiving is sure to be a safe and environmentally friendly success. By making a conscious effort to improve our environment, we’re showing thanks for our air quality, our family, and our friends, so take the first step today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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