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How To Celebrate A More Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving

November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving has earned a reputation for being a pretty gluttonous and over-indulgent holiday.  And while indulging in all the food you can tolerate won’t cause you much (long-term) suffering, there are definitely some areas better served by a more sparing approach and a more eco-friendly Thanksgiving

Energy efficiency, for example, is huge.  Cooking accounts for 4.5% of the total energy use in U.S. homes.  Once you factor in other things like hot water heating, dish washing, and refrigeration, the percentage of energy expended solely in the kitchen is something like 15%.  And as you can imagine, it only gets worse during the holidays.

Making your Thanksgiving a more eco-friendly celebration is easier than you think.

Try out some of these energy-saving tips for a greener holiday:

1.)  When you’re using your oven, try lowering the thermostat a few degrees.  The oven should keep the house warm.  You can also use your ceiling fan to help distribute heat.

2.)  If you use glass or ceramic pans, you can reduce the oven’s temperature by up to 25 degrees and get the same results.

3.)  Try to choose sides that you can cook with the turkey in the oven simultaneously so you don’t have to add extra time to the oven’s use.

4.)  If you can, use the microwave or slow-cooker.  Microwaves make a quick job of things, and slow-cookers require less energy than the oven.  Remember that every time you remove to lid to check the contents, you’re releasing heat and can add up to 25 minutes of cooking time to the dish in question.

5.)  Always use the right size burners for your pots so that you don’t lose extra energy unnecessarily.

6.)  Always keep lids on pots and pans to help retain the heat.

7.)  Once it’s time to clean up, try to scrape food off of plates instead of rinsing each one with hot water.  Unless the food is seriously caked on there, the dishwasher should do a good enough job on its own.

8.)  Only hand-wash things that aren’t dishwasher safe – using the dishwasher saves both energy and water.

An effort to be “greener” and more eco-friendly is an easy holiday tradition to make your own – one that each member of your family can take part in and feel proud of.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Photo Credit: Betty Crocker Recipes via Compfight cc

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