5 Smart Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving More Sustainable

Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with abundance. While we celebrate with friends and family, it’s also easy to over-prepare, over-eat, and be wasteful. This Thanksgiving, we can all challenge ourselves to be more mindful of the environment and take steps to be more sustainable. Goodwill is the perfect place to start!

Here are five smart ways to make your Thanksgiving more sustainable:

Plate from Goodwill with colorful fruit design

Plate from Goodwill

#1: Swap Disposable for Reusable

Before you reach for paper plates or plastic cups, think twice. You can find affordable, reusable serving dishes, plates, glasses, and silverware at Goodwill. Not only will you cut out the waste, but your Thanksgiving table will look beautiful. Trade paper napkins for cloth ones, and your guests will feel extra special.


If you don’t think you’ll use the items again, don’t forget you can donate them back to Goodwill when you’re done. They’ll be ready to serve another Goodwill shopper in no time!

#2: Shop Local 

Being more sustainable means thinking about how far things have traveled to make it into your shopping cart. Buying local items cuts down on the fuel needed to get it to you, and supports your neighbors. The donations found at your Cincinnati Goodwill store came from others in your community! You can feel good about thrifting everything you need for Thanksgiving at Goodwill.

Vases and lamp from Ohio Valley Goodwill

Home decor from Goodwill

#3: Give Your Décor New Life

Goodwill has everything you need to create a gorgeous Thanksgiving table and more, and everything you choose for your décor is being saved from the landfill. Thrifting is the perfect way to “upcycle” items that might otherwise be thrown away. Mix and match vintage vases or dishes to create an eclectic look. If you don’t plan on using those items post-Thanksgiving, you can always pay it forward by donating back to Goodwill after the holidays.

Instead of buying packages of Thanksgiving décor accessories like faux plastic acorns or pumpkins, think about mixing your thrift finds with natural pieces found in your backyard. Fill a Goodwill vase with real acorns or pinecones, and compost when you’re done!

white dishes on a shelf at Goodwill

White Dishes from Goodwill

#4: Send Leftovers Home in Style

Want to take a sustainable approach to Thanksgiving leftovers while wowing your guests? Send that extra turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes home in a reusable container! Find vintage Pyrex at Goodwill, and you’ll have a trendy parting gift that will keep the cycle of sustainability in motion.

Donate and Shop. Change a Life.

Donate to Goodwill and change a life!

#5: Give Back with a Goodwill Donation

Celebrate the season of giving as a family by donating to Goodwill before you do your Black Friday shopping! You’ll clean out your closets and feel great about supporting job training and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and veterans in your community.

Start planning your “green” Thanksgiving today! Find your nearest Cincinnati Goodwill store or donation site, make your sustainable shopping list, and start gathering up items to donate. Thank you for choosing Goodwill!