Of all the traditions celebrated in the US, Thanksgiving is arguably the most quintessentially American one. And of the many components that make up what we as a culture collectively consider a typical part of the Thanksgiving tradition, the turkey main course undoubtedly tops the list. Unfortunately, one of the unwanted byproducts that we as a society tend to overlook is the tremendous amount of waste that takes place around the holidays when we are confronted with more food than we can possibly eat.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans annually throw away 40 percent of the food they purchase, or an estimated $165 billion of wasted food. In fact, wasting food is such a prevalent habit that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks it as the third-largest source of methane gas emissions in the US.1 At a time when climate change is threatening our individual well-being and collective prosperity, there is an opportunity to improve, evolve, and expand the traditions we hold dear.
In 1980, when Tofurky was first introduced as the plant-based alternative to the traditional turkey main course, no one could have predicted that the company would still be a household name. Astonishingly, according to Tofurky, Thanksgiving 2018 marked the sale of their five millionth tofu and wheat-based turkey, proving they have managed to become an integral part of the American Thanksgiving tradition.
Since Thanksgiving is all about community, it feels like the perfect opportunity to focus on ways we can better serve our community through conscious environmental choices. The following are three traditions you can introduce this November that will serve to usher in a new era of Thanksgiving traditions.