Turkey and stuffing, extended family gathered around a bountiful table—and the pies! The Thanksgiving feast is full of cherished traditions. But there’s one element you’d be hard pressed to find anyone refer to as “cherished.” The dishes! With Thanksgiving comes a ton of pots, pans, utensils, glasses and plates. Hosts cook all day, and typically the day before too, creating what I have to believe is one of the highest-water-usage holidays.
Between food prep, the pots and pans needing water, and cleaning dishes from the peelers and knives, to mixing bowls, it can become quite a load for your dishwasher and sink to handle Thanksgiving, even before the meal starts. Plus, how often are you going to the sink to wash your hands and wipe down counter tops to prevent cross-contamination?
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving and the memories being made with friends and family. It’s just that, as a water quality professional, I have water on my mind as well, including the grease and scraps of food that often get washed down the sink and clog pipes.
Here are some Thanksgiving cleanup tips that can help cut down on water use and the impact on our water infrastructure (pipes, plants, etc.):
- – Wash in the pot! Conserve the water used to clean up one large pot for cleaning other utensils.
- – Scrape dishes and throw residue, along with cooking grease, in the trash instead of rinsing them or putting in the disposal before loading into the dishwasher. Remember, grease can clog the drain and cause back-ups!
- – Only run dishwashers with a full load.
- – Only hand-wash what is not dishwasher safe.
- – Line roasting and baking dishes with aluminum foil or parchment paper so cleanup requires less water and scrubbing.
This Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks for the continual flow of clean water to your home—and do what you can to conserve that precious resource as you “attack” the holiday cleanup!
And thank YOU. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that we continue to make progress in water conservation, using less water and taking steps to conserve this precious resource. For this, future generations and I will be eternally grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!