As the holiday season approaches, you’ll notice an increase in a lot of things – family time, eating, drinking, stress, (makes us wonder if they’re somehow related to be honest) – and unfortunately waste as well. In the US alone, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25% and a total of 6 million tonnes of holiday waste is created each year.
So how can you make sure you contribute as little as possible to this scary statistic? We’ve put together a few ideas to inspire you.
Recycle your wrapping paper
Let’s be real for a second – wrapping paper exists purely so people can rip it up and throw it out. So when it comes time to wrap your gifts, take a second to think about whether they really need wrapping paper. Perhaps they came in a nice paper bag when you bought it, or it’s already packaged in a beautiful box. If you still want to wrap your gifts, consider purchasing recycled wrapping paper of reusing paper from gifts you’ve received.
Ditch the card (or send an eCard)
Thinking of sending out holiday cards? Save yourself the hours of tedious handwriting and send an eCard instead! Not only will you save yourself time (hello, copy & paste) but you’ll be helping reduce the amount of waste being created around the holiday time.
Avoid the plastic plates
When all the relatives come knocking, it can be tempting to reach for the plastic of paper plates to feed the masses. These single use items however are a significant contributor to the waste problem (all year round, not just at Christmas). This also applies to plastic cups, bowls and cutlery.
Re-gift or donate unwanted gifts
We’ve all received a less-than-ideal gift at one point or another, but one man’s trash really is another man’s treasure. It might seem cheap, but consider if someone else might enjoy your unwanted gifts before you toss them. Otherwise, think about donating them to a local charity who can pass them on (note: most charities will have guidelines about what can and cannot be donated so please ensure you adhere to these).
Get creative with your gift giving! Gifts from the hear are more meaningful anyway – think about gifting experiences (like learning to dive), subscriptions, a donation to a cause close to their heart or even just a commitment to spend time together. If you are going to purchase more traditional gifts, look for ones with minimal or no packaging, or those that are eco-friendly.
Think twice about your tree
Christmas trees look amazing, and we’re certainly not telling you to go without, but why not try a different kind this year? There are loads of potted plants that look just as special with a bit of tinsel and some gifts underneath. Or you could invest in a forever tree! Plastic trees mean you won’t have to buy a new on each year, and you won’t have to sweep up pine needles every day!
There are plenty of items you’ll find around your home or workplace that can be transformed into something useful again. And, as an added bonus, upcycled items are super trendy these days! Think corks as place card holders or jam jars as candle holders.
If you’re planning ahead and your new year’s resolution is to decrease your environmental footprint, then why not get a head start? Setting up a compost bin is super simple and means that any scraps from Christmas dinner can be put to work.
Skip the balloons
We know balloons aren’t so much a Christmas decoration, but we think it’s always good to give a gentle reminder about where balloons often end up and how damaging they can be not just to marine life but to all animals.
Have any other tips? Let us know!