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Let’s gather for a memorable, and sustainable, Thanksgiving

In a typical year, Goodwill Central Coast takes in about a half-million donations, totaling more than 17 million pounds of clothing and household items. Of those donations, we actively divert 7,000 tons from landfills.

This is why Goodwill shoppers can enjoy guilt-free retail therapy, knowing every purchase supports job training programs and promotes reuse that protects scarce natural resources.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, there is no reason we can’t embrace everything about the holiday while celebrating in an eco-friendly way.

Thanksgiving is a leading holiday for food waste and trash, higher energy usage, and other negative impacts on our local environment. To have a more mindful and sustainable holiday, here are some easy-to-implement tips that you can add to your Thanksgiving traditions for years to come.

Craft some sustainable decor: One of the best things about the holidays involves the decorations. We all love setting up the house and making everything feel more festive. Having decorations made from upcycled and sustainable materials is the icing on the cake. Throws and scarves are a great alternative to traditional tablecloths.  You can always find them at Goodwill and after a good washing, they are great on the table for layering and adding color! Vases are easy to find at Goodwill. Just snip a few slender tree branches (with or without leaves) and drop them into the vases for an elegant look.

Ditch the disposables: Thanksgiving is a time when we should all be more thankful. We should be thankful for the planet we all share and help protect by not using any type of disposable dishes or utensils. So what if you have to wash a few dishes? At least you won’t be adding to the landfills. If you’re running low on serving platters and any other Thanksgiving dishes, just head over to Goodwill. WE have tons of awesome holiday-themed goods!

Avoid plastic bags, and embrace cloth napkins: When shopping at the grocery store, it’s always a great idea to bring reusable shopping bags for the items you buy. Plastic is a huge issue, pervading our oceans and waterways, invading the bodies of humans and wildlife, and filling landfills. Setting a Thanksgiving table with a linen tablecloth and napkins adds an element of elegance to your dinner event (that you just cannot achieve with paper napkins and tablecloths). Now all you need is some up-cycled candlestick holders and colorful candles to finish off the look.

Rethink that Black Friday mentality: Here’s a new idea in counter to the shopping frenzy seen at huge malls or online. Make frequent Goodwill store visits to scoop up the secondhand treasures that will delight the recipient while protecting the environment. Let’s all make a conscious effort to reduce our conspicuous consumption. The time and effort spent searching for thrifted gifts will be much appreciated by your family and friends.

Eat the leftovers: Somewhere between 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is wasted. Just thrown away. When it comes to Thanksgiving, embrace the leftovers. By the next day, all the food we cook tastes way better anyway. Since we have a long weekend for Thanksgiving, (and we do get tired of eating turkey and all the fixings for four straight days), focus on recipes to use up any leftover ingredients, and change up your weekend menus.

Remember, we’re all in this together. At Goodwill Central Coast, we are proud to do our part in reducing our community’s environmental impact.

Join us! It’s easy to help reduce waste and protect the one planet we have.