Thanksgiving is a time of celebration ... a time when Families and friends come together for fun, fellowship and food.

Did you know that you can host a fabulous Thanksgiving and be sustainable, too?

Sustainable Fort Bragg would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and share some ideas for turning your holiday meal into an environmentally friendly feast.

Purchase seasonal, locally harvested foods and locally raised meats for your meal. Locally produced foods are often fresher and more flavorful. In addition, they support the area economy and regional farmers.

Incorporate certified organic and minimally processed foods into your meal. Look for the USDA Organic Seal.

The average American family discards 25 percent of all food prepared on Thanksgiving, so plan your meal wisely to minimize waste.

Use environmentally-preferred and biobased cleansers to ready your home for your guests.

Lower the setting on your thermostat. The oven and your holiday guests will provide plenty of warmth.

Use reusable baking dishes, plates, glasses and cloth napkins rather than plastic, paper, Styrofoam or other disposable options. If you must use disposable items, then choose compostable, biodegradable or recyclable options and dispose of them sustainably.

Conserve energy by preparing dishes in the microwave or on the range instead of in the oven whenever possible. If you prefer to use the oven, dishes that can be prepared at the same temperature may be placed in the oven together to save time and power.

Adorn your table with natural materials. Fresh flowers, dried herbs, leaves, berries and pinecones are festive, sustainable and economical decorations. You can probably find these materials in your own yard, and they are biodegradable.

Choose soy or vegetable based candles instead of paraffin candles. Paraffin candles are petroleum-based, and they can emit chemicals that diminish indoor air quality.

If food remains following your meal, send a plate with each of your guests or incorporate it into other recipes.

Wash only full loads of dishes to save energy and water.

Recycle as much as possible. Remember, plastics, aluminum cans, steel cans, glass and paperboard boxes are all recyclable. If your community recycling program does not accept glass, you can recycle it at the Fort Bragg Recycling Center.

The Fort Bragg Recycling Center is located on the northwest corner of Butner and Reilly roads in the Directorate of Public Works campus. The entrance is off Reilly Road, across from the Veterinary Clinic and just before to Pope Field. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dispose of your waste vegetable oil properly. Pour it into a sealed container and place the container in your household refuse, or recycle it at the Fort Bragg Recycling Center. Never pour vegetable oil into a drain!

If you live off post, consider composting your vegetable scraps.

See more ideas for sustainable holidays at www.facebook.com/sustainablefortbragg or http://sustainablefortbragg.com.