Setting a Green(er) Thanksgiving Table


As you begin to plan for Thanksgiving dinner, how will you set your table this year? Paper plates and plasticware? Or reusable plates and utensils?

Although you might think that using paper plates will save water, the production and afterlife of those plates actually use more water (as well as create additional landfill waste and carbon dioxide emissions). Though energy and resources are also required to make a ceramic plate, a ceramic plate’s lifetime is likely quite long, balancing out these initial environmental costs.

Though going reusable is the preferable option, we can give you some recommendations to limit your environmental impact no matter which option you choose.

Tips for a greener Thanksgiving:

  • Not enough reusable plates to go around? Ask a few guests in advance to bring some of their reusable plates and utensils to add to the party.
  • Want to pack leftovers for your guests but don’t want to risk never seeing your beloved Tupperware again? Ask your guests to bring their own containers and bag to make for easy, guilt-free leftover packing.
  • If you decide to use your own ceramic plates or fine china and silver, consider using green dish soap for cleaning. Dishwashing detergents can pollute just as badly as paper mills, if you use standard detergents that contain phosphates. Phosphates deplete waterways of oxygen, killing all the living organisms that live in the water.
  • If you decide to go with one-time use tableware, the biodegradable and compostable disposable options (including cups) are a good alternative to limit your holiday dinner’s impact on the environment.

We hope these tips will help you enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner to the fullest! Here at LA Stormwater, we’re thankful for the environment, our community, and for you, our readers. Happy Thanksgiving!


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