The Holidays are a time for family, fun and joy. But it’s also a time where we tend to produce more trash and accumulate waste. If you’re looking to reduce your footprint this Holiday season, we’ve compiled 5 easy tips to reduce waste so you can spread eco-friendly Holiday cheer!
1. Consider Eco-friendly Wrapping Materials
While beautiful and fun, much of the wrapping paper we use each Holiday is single use and ends up in landfills. Thankfully, there are many eco-friendly wrapping alternatives to cut down on waste. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Use white or brown craft paper for wrapping. You can dress this up with stamps, twine, a personal ornament or a handmade bow (if you’re crafty)!
- Use gift bags. If you want something that is both reusable and convenient, look no further than gift bags! You still get the fun Holiday prints, but most gift bags can be stored and reused for future Holiday gifts.
- A scarf, kitchen towel or bandana. For small gifts, scarfs, kitchen towels and bananas can be used to decoratively wrap your gifts and add a fun keepsake! If you need help on how to wrap these, look up the Japanese art of Furoshiki (tip: You can find tons of tutorials on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok).
2. Reconsider Your Holiday Shopping List
So many of us get gifts we never use that eventually end up stuffed in a closet, donation bin, or a landfill. Instead, consider gifting experiences, second-hand items, or practical gifts that your friends and family can use in their everyday lives. Here are some thought-starters:
- Memberships to local zoos, aquariums, or museums
- Tickets to shows, concerts and other events
- Classes to learn a new relevant skill (think jewelry making, flower arranging, pottery, sewing, etc.)
Second Hand Items:
- A 1st edition book or vinyl album by a favorite author or musician
- Sports memorabilia and autographed items
- Art, such as framed wall art, vintage china and pottery
- Designer bags or vintage accessories
- Meal or specialty box subscriptions
- Scarves and cold weather accessories
- Personalized and embroided items (toiletry bags, makeup bags)
- Luxury coffee and tea
3. Reconsider Meal Planning
It can be easy to overdo Holiday meals, buying and cooking way more than you need or can eat. Careful prep can help you reduce food waste (and help save a bit of cash!). Also, if possible, utilize real cutlery and dinnerware and forgo the plastic silverware and paper plates.
Post-meal, send guests home with leftovers and opt for composting any scraps or leftovers that aren’t consumed.
4. Offset Your Holiday Travel
If you’re traveling long distances this Holiday, consider offsetting your carbon emissions of your trip. Some airlines have this option built into their booking process, but you can also utilize legitimate companies like Terrapass or CarbonFund to offset your carbon emissions by supporting carbon reduction projects.
5. Recycle Your Christmas Tree!
Millions of trees end up in landfills each year, where they end up producing methane, a greenhouse gas. If you are able to, you can chip your tree into mulch, cut it for firewood, or use if for crafts. However, if these are not viable options, check with your local Recycling center to see if they offer Christmas Tree Recycling (many municipalities do!). The National Christmas Tree Association also offers a wealth of options on their website if your city does not have a recycling option.
We’d love for you to share other eco-friendly Holiday tips in the comments below! For some of our favorite practical Each & Every Holiday gifts, check out our picks below.