December 7th, 2020
By Jane Marsh
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
The holiday season is a significant contributor to waste. Americans produce 25 million tons of garbage between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Fortunately, you can do your part to reduce your impact. A few tricks will ensure you have a waste-free holiday season.
Here are 10 ways to reduce your environmental footprint this year.
1. Pick Experiences Rather Than Stuff
You should gift experiences rather than stuff if you want to promote sustainability. For example, you could give your thrill-seeking friend passes to a ropes course. This way, you avoid buying something with excessive packaging they’ll eventually throw away.
2. Make a Donation in Someone’s Name
Does your loved one have a particular cause they enjoy supporting? If so, you should consider donating to an organization in their name. You can make a substantial difference while reducing your waste output to zero. That’s a win-win for everyone.
Look for charities with climate change goals that resonate with you. Be sure to take a screenshot of your donation so your loved one can see where you gave your money. You don’t have to include the amount. Instead, you should add a small note with information about the charity.
3. Wrap With Reusable Materials
Do your best to wrap everything with reusable materials. You can look for sustainable wrapping paper options online. Use brown kraft paper, which is biodegradable because it’s unbleached. Use eco-friendly markers to create fun designs.
4. Buy a Live Christmas Tree
A fake Christmas tree offers plenty of conveniences. After all, you don’t have to go through getting one from your local tree farm every year. They’re easy to clean up and put away, too. What happens when you want to get a new fake Christmas tree? The old one goes in the trash.
It’s more responsible sustainability-wise to purchase a live tree because you can use different methods to recycle these alternatives. You’ll be able to give back to the Earth as a result.
5. Use Water Reuse for Watering
If you decide to buy a live Christmas tree, you should try an eco-friendly way to water it. You’ll need to fill your basin daily to ensure it stays healthy. As a result, you can end up using a lot of water over the weeks it’s on display.
Instead, try water reuse or recycling. You collect wastewater or stormwater and use it for other purposes. This method helps you avoid using water from your tap. Then, you can save money on utilities — and make a positive choice for the planet.
6. Craft Homemade Ornaments
It can be a fun project to make your own ornaments for your Christmas tree. This experience is a fantastic idea for a bonding activity, too. You can use recyclable materials to create personalized handcrafted decorations. As a result, you won’t spend any money on plastic or glass ornaments.
7. Give Eco-Friendly Presents
A great way to reduce waste is to give the gift of sustainability. If you can help make someone else’s life more eco-friendly, you’re doing your part to help the planet. Find items with eco-friendly features that your loved ones will enjoy.
8. Don’t Purchase Gag Gifts
If you usually give gag gifts, you should think twice. Let’s be real. These presents are a great source of laughter — but you and your family typically toss them after a few weeks, right? If not, they definitely sit in your closet until it’s time for spring cleaning.
Avoid the urge to buy gag gifts. If you’re really into comedy, give your friends a streaming collection of their favorite standup sets.
9. Avoid Getting New Decorations
It can be tempting to buy new holiday decorations every year. How can you resist getting an adorable seasonal pillow when you’re out shopping? It’s important to avoid purchasing decorations you don’t need so you can manage your waste.
Try only adding new decorations to your collection when they break. You can also handmake many holiday decorations with sustainable materials.
10. Send Virtual Gift Cards
You probably give a few gift cards throughout the holiday season. These presents are terrific for people who don’t know what they want. They’re also common in workplaces. That said, you’re essentially giving plastic when you choose these gifts.
Do your best to stick to virtual gift cards. This option allows you to send a digital code via email or text to your chosen recipient. Then, they can use that code in person or online to spend the money. There’s no waste involved there.
Use These Ideas for a Waste-Free Holiday Season
The holidays are a joyful time for you and your loved ones. Unfortunately, it’s also an occasion that produces tons of waste. Do your part to ensure your activities have a positive impact on the environment. It’s easier than you think.
About the author:
Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.