Silly season is upon us and that means good times, social gatherings and festive food. But with all of the hustle and bustle comes a lot of extra trappings that take a toll on the environment. Interested in lightening your footprint this holiday season? You can make some simple adjustments that have a positive impact.
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Shop local and sustainable
Supporting local businesses is great for your community and lets you save on shipping costs. Try visiting neighborhood shops and Christmas markets during the holiday season. If you think ahead and spend some time researching options you can avoid last minute purchases that happen when you’re overwhelmed. This includes your holiday food too. Pre-order from local bakeries, cafes and farms.
Change your wrapping
When we’re surrounded by bright and shiny holiday decor it’s easy to forget that glitter and plastics aren’t good for the environment. Think of all of the gifts that are purchased over the holidays and now think of all of those being wrapped in shiny foil paper (that isn’t recyclable). The sheer amount of waste that is produced just from wrapping and packaging in December is unreal. So what can you do?
- Use brown Kraft paper to wrap your gifts.
- Try fabric wrapping, linen sacs or reusable boxes.
- Have your kids decorate the kraft paper with drawings for a creative holiday activity.
- Twine and natural decorative elements are great instead of plastic bows.
If you’re a local business you can evaluate your packaging materials to make sure your products will arrive safely while minimizing the materials you use.
- Are your bags compostable?
- Are your packing peanuts biodegradable?
- If you send packaging inserts are they recyclable?
Get a real tree
This might come as a surprise but real Christmas trees have proven to be better for the environment than plastic ones. Fake trees have a negative impact during manufacturing and are tough on the environment to dispose of. Consider a small potted tree from your local nursery or supporting a local tree farm that’s creating green space with their business venture.
Our consumer habits drive climate change and our buying increases rapidly during the holidays. Take a minute to consider where you’re purchasing your gifts from. What about the values of the companies that you’re supporting? Rather than buying gifts for everyone in a large group, consider a Secret Santa where you can purchase something special for just one person.
Instead of a physical gift, could you give a memorable experience like tickets to a show? Lastly, If you’re Shopping online try consolidating purchases to minimize shipments going out.
A lot of travel happens this time of year that increases our carbon footprint. If you’re traveling you can opt for sustainable destinations and seek out eco accommodations. If you need to fly, try looking into how your airline ranks for sustainability, use e-tickets and consider offsetting your carbon emissions.
Use refurbished devices
Consider using refurbished devices like tablets and smartphones rather than buying brand new. Eighty percent of the carbon emissions created from a smartphone occur during the manufacturing process. When you purchase a refurbished iPhone or handset there is no manufacturing. Gifting refurbished is especially great when it’s time to buy your kiddos their first phone. On the flipside, If you receive technology as a gift and end up with an older device laying around, you can sell it to a company like Mobile Monster that leverages the circular economy to help keep great technology in the system longer.
What will you be doing this season to make your holidays more sustainable?