‘Tis the season for friends, family, festive gatherings, extravagant decorations, gifts and more! The holiday season is a special time of year, but unfortunately it is also an extremely wasteful one. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the United States alone adds 25% more waste to landfills – that translates to about one million tons of extra waste per week. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to cut back on these wasteful habits while still keeping the holiday spirit.
2.65 billion Christmas cards are sold in the United States each year. Overall, choosing products that can be recycled is one of the easiest tips for turning your holiday season into a more sustainable practice. Reusing blank cards you have sitting around, or even making your own out of products already in your home, can cut down on tons of potential waste while also spreading holiday cheer. There are also companies who make compostable cards, or cards with seeds in them that can be planted in a garden for a gift that keeps on giving!
Giving and receiving gifts is one of the most cherished traditions during the holiday season. It brings people together and allows you to focus on showing your loved ones how much you appreciate them. When shopping for gifts this year, look for local, ethically-sourced items. Consider choosing durable gifts that can be used for years to come, rather than those that will only last a short time and eventually become part of the tons of waste generated each year. Think about gifts that can help cut down on waste all year long, like reusable coffee cups or tumblers, tote bags, reusable produce bags, and more! Another eco-friendly approach is to give the gift of life with plants that can be enjoyed all year long. If you have a spark of inspiration, homemade gifts bring a special touch and cut down on waste! If you are open to ditching physical gifts in general, consider donating to a loved one’s favorite charity or cause. White Elephant or Secret Santa gift exchanges are also great ways to cut costs, reduce waste, and create a fun, personal tradition.
Rethink Wrapping Paper
Reimagining gift-wrapping can help save money, and a little extra effort can make a huge impact when it comes to reducing waste. Reuse old wrapping paper from gifts you’ve received in the past, and look for bags you may have lying around your house to give them a second life. Get creative by using a shirt, scarf, tapestry or other fabric to bundle gifts for loved ones. Using old newspapers, maps, posters, or books can cut down on waste and give your gift a unique, creative look. If you absolutely need new wrapping paper, seek out options that are recyclable or compostable. These tactics will help save some money and some room in the landfill!
Lighting and Decorations
Lights and decorations are a special part of the holiday season, and there are various ways you can make this tradition more eco-friendly while also saving money. Always try to choose LED lights, as they are the most energy-efficient option and often last longer than alternatives. When your string lights aren’t working, take the extra time to swap out the problem bulbs. It seems tedious, but can save you from purchasing new ones. If your lights have indeed reached the end of the line, search for places you can either bring or send your lights to in order to be recycled properly.
If you are celebrating Christmas, look for trees that can be planted after the holidays, fake trees that can be reused each year, or find a service that will recycle your tree for you. With environmentally-conscious products on the rise, finding recyclable and compostable decorations is easy.
With a little research and extra effort, your holiday season can be both festive and sustainable. Stay tuned to our blog year-round for more ways to save money, optimize your energy efficiency, and live green!