It’s the most wasteful time of the year! Wasteful? Without a doubt.
In the US alone, the amount of trash produced between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by an estimated 25%...that’s about ONE MILLION extra tons of trash EACH WEEK.
The United States also throws away about 40% of the food produced and it gets worse during the holidays! One average we waste about 5 million more pounds of food between Thanksgiving in New Year’s.
Each year Americans discard an estimated:
38,000 miles a ribbon; aka enough to wrap around the planet and tie a bow
· 15 million used Christmas trees
· $11 billion worth of packing material
Needless to say the holidays are an insanely wasteful time. However, I believe it is possible to still enjoy the holidays…just in a much more sustainable and mindful way. Below are my top tips for a sustainable holiday season:
Focus on sustainable gifts: Give your family and friends items that will help them start to live a more sustainable life. By introducing people to eco-friendly alternatives, you have the power to create a ripple effect. Some of my favorite gifts to get others are:
o Diva Cup
Make your gifts of thrift them: In all honesty most us don’t NEED much for the holidays. Talk to your friends, family, and coworkers and discuss the possibility of making eachother gifts or challenging eachother to thrift them. Buying something used is inherently more sustainable and easier on the wallet too. Favorite companies to find used items for yourself or loved ones:
o Local Thrift Shop
Experience over things: I believe that “time” is the most valuable gift we can give to others. Rather than a random t-shirt, focus on an experience-based gift. Whether it’s going to dinner, a concert, a camping trip, or a comedy show, give your loved ones the gift of more time spent with you.
Ditch the wrapping paper: Got a stash of old paper bags? These make the perfect substitute for buying more wrapping paper that will most likely be wrapped in plastic anyways. Don’t have extra paper lying around? Go paper free! Decorate your boxes with ribbons that you can reuse time and time again.
Set the dinner table: I know how convenient paper plates and plastic utensils can be but these decisions last a lifetime. Some plastic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose! Instead, actually set the table and use cloth napkins. Need a few extra forks? Head to your local thrift shop and stock up for future holiday events!
Obviously, this is not EVERY way that you can be more sustainable during the holidays but I hope it provides you with a good place to start. Never underestimate the power of your actions. Together we can make the holidays a less wasteful time of year.