Host a Zero Waste Friendsgiving
I absolutely adore Friendsgiving! I'm very lucky to live in the same area as my family and extended family, but that's not the case for all my friends.
For those who live plane rides away from their family, celebrating on Thanksgiving isn't always in the cards. Flights are expensive, taking time off work is difficult close to the holidays, only to have to fly back out a week later.
Then there are those who have a chosen family, the family they also call their friends, and celebrating our community of chosen family is so important.
So if you're new to hosting friendsgiving and want to do it as zero waste as possible, check out our guide!
Friendsgiving is all about collaboration. Potluck is the best way to lessen the burden of cooking and purchasing all the food.
Once you have your guest list determined, ask your friends what dishes they would like to bring and point them to Savethefood.com "guest-imator". You and your guests can determine how much food they need to bring using the guest-imator, you can even factor in leftover meals.
Not sure what you should provide and what you can ask your guests to bring? Just ask, you might have a guest that feels comfortable making the entire turkey or one that only wants to bring something they can pick up at the store, give them a list of options. Don't forget to ask for dietary restrictions and provide that information to your guests bringing food.
As the host I provide the following:
- Hors d'oeuvres
- Place settings
- Guests sharing plates:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green Bean Casserole
- Cranberry Sauce
- Non alcoholic beverages
- Any specialty dish your guest wants to share!
Don't forget to ask your guests to provide their own serving utensils and bring tupperware if they'd like any leftovers.
- Their sharing plate
- Serving utensil
Depending on your serving ware you can also ask your guests to bring their own cup, silverware, and or plate. You can make it part of the fun by asking your guest to bring their most fun and creative serving piece. Imagine a table scape showing off your friend's personalities in the form of dishware!
When throwing a Friendsgiving it's easy to forget about the hidden waste and how to avoid it.
Opt for cloth napkins you can wash and reuse, use unbleached compostable paper napkins, find cloth napkins at your local thrift store, or ask a creative friend for help and make your own!
Store Bought Dishes
Even with as much planning ahead as possible, sometimes you have to run to the store and buy something wrapped in plastic. Don't be hard on yourself and if there's an opportunity to reuse the single-use plastic, now it's been given a new life before it lands in the landfill. Ask your guests to be mindful of where they are purchasing their store bought dishes. If you have a guest that wants to bring pie, suggest a local pie shop, chances are they will use paper pie boxes over plastic.
Before you throw food scraps like turkey bones and vegetable shavings into the compost, use the bones to make a bone broth and freeze the vegetable shavings to make a vegetable broth.
Your guests are new to your home and may need some guidance. Having clearly labelled bins with some information on what goes where is very helpful. Minimize the chance of accidentally mixing up the recycling, compost, and garbage!
This may feel uncomfortable, but if your guests bring their own dishes, let them take home their dirty dishes to wash at home. Use your dishwasher if you have one and scrape off food residue, don't rinse before loading, this will save so much water! Soak any pots and pans that need it with dish soap and water. Any stubborn spots, use baking soda and elbow grease before trying to use warm water to loosen to spot.
While we don't live in a perfect circular economy, by making small changes and encouraging & challenging your guests to lessen their waste, you'll end the night with a happy belly and empty trash can!