WASHINGTON - Want to make your Thanksgiving a little more environmentally-friendly? World Wildlife Fund offers some easy steps to make your celebration more sustainable:
1) Purchase locally grown, seasonal produce in the bulk bin. Locally produced products require less gasoline to ship to market - and usually taste fresher too. Local seasonal produce can include root crops such as potatoes, turnips, beets, rutabaga, parsnips, salsify, pumpkins and squash. Use bitter greens and hardy vegetables that are available in the fall, such as collards, kale and Brussels sprouts. They're good for you and good for the planet. Look for them in the bulk bin to cut down on individual packaging waste.
2) Buy organic foods - turkeys, produce such as apples, celery, and many of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner trimmings are now available in organic version, usually better for the environment as they reduce the use of pesticides.
3) Shop online or order by phone and save the gas you'd burn driving from store to store. It saves the planet from exhaust emissions, which add to global warming.
4) Look for natural materials such as pinecones, dried leaves, Osage oranges, and other natural materials from your own backyard to make your holiday centerpiece.
5) Serve tap water instead of bottled at your holiday table and cut down on plastic bottles which will need to be discarded.
6) Purchase ingredients with a minimal amount of packaging around them. Cardboard and plastic packaging just ends up in the waste basket.
7) Serve wine sealed with a cork not a plastic stopper. Cork extraction is one of the most environmentally friendly harvesting methods, and cork production provides a sustainable livelihood for people in many parts of the world.
8) Although Thanksgiving is supposed to be a feast, don't prepare more food than will be eaten. American's throw out nearly 40 percent of their food. This year, encourage guests to clean their plates.
9) Remember - leftovers are half the fun! Find new and interesting ways to serve leftovers.
10) Share food with those that have less and invite people for Thanksgiving that don't have anywhere else to go. Sustainable societies are built on sustainable agriculture and food systems but also sustainable communities - be part of one.