Whether you are planning to spend much of the winter holidays hibernating at home or you have plans to get out and brave the cold winter weather, there is much that you can do to reduce the impact you have on the environment. Whether it is energy waste or product waste the holidays can have a huge positive on the environment and it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s easier than you think to keep the holiday cheer going while making less of a footprint on the environment this season. Here are some tips to help you reduce waste this holiday season, regardless of what your plans are:
1. The best things you can get are more than things.
The gifts that people truly love and cherish and remember are ones that do not sit on a shelf. They are not worn or played with. The best gifts are for things you can do and memories you can make. Consider tickets for a sporting event, movie, play, or concert, make a donation to a charity your loved one supports, name a star for them, adopt an animal at a conservation canter or anything else that celebrates the people in your life rather than the things you can give them. This will help you reduce waste this holiday season and focus on the things that really matter.
2. Make gifts on your own.
When you invest time and give of yourself and your talents to make a gift for someone it can be one of the more precious and memorable gifts they can get. Everyone appreciates a home-cooked meal or baked goodies. If you can sew, consider making a small quilt, needlepoint, or some other item that they can use and enjoy. If you are musically inclined, you could write them a song or a poem in their honor. Being creative and using your talents is a great way to avoid excessive waste with frivolous purchased and with a lot of things that don’t really mean much.
3. Shop for gifts in cheaper stores.
One person’s trash is another’s treasure! It is also a great way to reduce waste this holiday season as well as save money when you are doing your shopping for the holidays. If you are buying your gifts and you want to save money and reduce waste in areas like shipping, fuel usage, energy consumption, and the like, shop locally to support local businesses. Buying quality second-hand products or refurbished and recycled items can be a great way to find unique gifts no one else has and also helps you know you are doing your part to reduce environmental waste.
4. Always look for items with recycled content.
“Buying items made out of recycled material helps close the recycling loop, saving energy and resources by reducing the number of virgin materials needing to be extracted and refined to create the product. Items labeled, ‘Made from post-consumer waste’ are best” (Holiday Tips). This can be a great way to reduce waste this holiday season and find something unique and interesting to give to your loved ones. It can also be a fun way to start a new tradition and a new way of buying gifts for family and friends during the holidays.
5. Think durable and long lasting!
If you are going to invest in an item that is purchased from a store or an online shop, consider investing in quality over quantity. Rather than buying your children lots of little gifts consider investing in one or two bigger gifts that cost a little more. Consider how long an item will last before you make a purchase. Often, a cheaper item will wear out long before its more durable equivalent. Buying cheap toys will lead to monetary joy but a more expensive better-built toy will bring them joy for much longer and will reduce the waste of lots of broken toys and games and items.
6. Use reusable shopping bags.
If you’re heading out to the store to shop for your holiday gifts, you should try to bring your own shopping bags with you if possible. You’ll keep many disposable bags out of landfills, you will keep plastic and rubber from being incinerated, and as a bonus, you won’t have to have bags with bags in it cluttering up your home. This tip for reducing waste this holiday season works in any store, and some stores reward you for doing it and even offer you bags of their own. It can also be fun to see what bags you can find and think about all the plastic and paper bags you are saving.
7. Be careful when sending gifts in the mail.
Everyone is not always able to be together for the holidays and sometimes presents have to be mailed long distances to get to your loved ones. You need to use care when ailing gifts to ensure they arrive in good order. “Choose items that are easy to ship and that don’t require excess packaging. Choose reused or recyclable cartons and packing materials. Old newspaper makes a terrific packing material” (Holiday Tips). Also, pay attention to shipping time and ensure you are sending them out early enough so they get there on time without undue hassle and material waste.
8. Wrap gifts in recyclable/reusable packaging.
If you are an environmentally conscious individual and you want to reduce waste this holiday season, consider recycling options for your packaging and wrapping. Reuse bows, ribbons, gift bags, and tissue paper left over from previous years if they are still in good condition. Use newspaper, brown paper bags, or reusable fabric to wrap gifts. Use gift bags that can easily be reused multiple times rather than wrapping paper what will just end up in the trash. You can even skip the wrapping altogether and just give the gifts as they are without any of the wasteful trappings and trimmings!
9. Decluttering and recycle after the holidays
The holiday season is a tie where we can become inundated with stuff, and there can be a lot that we do not need any longer from years gone by or things we bought for this season that we really do not want or need. Rather than throwing things out, take a second look at what can be donated and recycled. Donate your unwanted household items to a local charity or ask your country about special recycling programs it may have. You can make a difference in people’s lives and declutter your home and reduce the trash that is going into the landfill and polluting the environment.
10. Parties are still on.
You can still have fun while you reduce waste this holiday season; parties are still a go this year! “For a low-impact party, put a lid on disposable silverware, dishware, and tablecloths. Use the durable stuff that you can wash and keep around. Cloth napkins add a touch of class to your holiday bash. After the party, don’t throw away the leftovers! Package them in reusable containers and send them home with guests. Donate leftover groceries to your community food shelf. Compost any inedible food scraps” (Holiday Tips). Parties can be grand so long as you are not wasteful.
You can still have a wonderful holiday with family and friends while finding ways to reduce waste this holiday season. It is our duty to do our part to reduce our environmental impact and protect our resources and be wise with the environment that we have around us. Whether it is energy waste or environmental waste you can make a difference today and we can help you find even more ways to reduce waste this holiday season. Call us today to get started!