These eco-friendly holiday tips are sure to put you — and the planet — in the holiday spirit!
When it comes to planning for the holidays, minimizing our carbon footprint doesn’t always make its way to the top of our to-do lists. But it definitely should. In fact, every year around 2.3 million pounds of gift wrapping paper is added to already overflowing landfills across the United States because it was either tossed into the trash or was never recyclable in the first place. Planning a sustainable holiday celebration is actually much easier than you might think and making just a few mindful adjustments to your holiday traditions can make a big difference. And what better to give thanks this holiday season than by showing a little extra love to this planet you call home with the help of a few eco-friendly holiday tips.
How can we be sustainable during the holidays?
From creative wrapping solutions to DIY decor, we want to make it easy for you to adopt more sustainable traditions this holiday season while reducing waste. We’ve put together a list of 5 things you can do to cut down on your holiday waste — and make a positive impact on the environment in the process.
Here are the 5 easiest things you can do to enjoy a more sustainable holiday season.
1. Get creative with your gift wrapping
There’s more than one way to wrap a gift — and that’s doubly true for the material you use to do the wrapping! While your average craft store wrapping paper may come in a variety of fun patterns, its impact on the environment is not so fun. While it’s true that some wrapping papers can be recycled, many cannot — specifically those with any glitter or tape attached to them. So what can you do? Get creative! Instead of heading to the store for a fresh roll of wrapping paper, head out to your mailbox or grab some old magazines and newspapers to repurpose into unique and eco-friendly wrapping paper. If newsprint paper isn’t quite in line with the aesthetic your holiday party is going for, consider using a patterned tea towel, scarf, or any extra fabric you have hiding in your craft closet to add a unique flair to your gift (and no, there’s nothing wrong with asking for the wrapping back!). Still committed to the wrapping paper route? That’s okay, too. Just make sure that the paper you buy is either made from recyclable materials or can be recycled once you’re done with it to ensure that it doesn’t end up in the landfill.
2. Ditch the disposables
When it comes to needless waste, one of the most notorious culprits of any holiday celebration is the use of disposables. That means paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery, paper napkins, plastic wrap, tin foil — the list goes on. And one thing they all have in common is that, typically, they’re either not recycled at the end of the day or were never recyclable in the first place. And all those plastics add up — fast. So instead of filling up your trash can with single-use plastics, get the dishwasher ready and buy your favorite eco-friendly soap and scrub away. And make sure you have some Tupperware handy (matching lids included!) so you can enjoy all your delicious leftovers throughout the week. And if you’re celebrating potluck style, clean and reuse the Tupperware your guests brought their contributions over in and use them to give them a nice plate or two of leftovers to take home with them as a party favor. Your guests and the planet will thank you.
3. Shop small, buy local
When buying gifts and grocery shopping, try to keep it as small and local as possible. Not only is this great for your local economy, but it also ensures that the goods you’re buying don’t have to travel far to get to you, which helps reduce your holiday’s carbon footprint. Speaking of groceries, when you’re planning your holiday menu, skip some of the meat dishes and keep it as green as possible (yes, that means veggies!) and look out for foods that are in season. Then find a local vendor to buy from directly. Meat production has a heavy impact on the environment, so minimizing the amount of meat you eat while celebrating and replacing it with healthy veggies and fruits will reduce your impact even further. And before you even think about throwing out those carrot tops and onion bottoms, try tossing them in the freezer to save for later the next time you want to make a delicious soup stock — the same goes for bones, too!
4. Recycle, recycle, recycle!
It may sound obvious, but in the chaos of any holiday celebration rinsing out that can of green beans and separating it from its label can fall pretty low on anyone’s list of priorities pretty fast. Before you get swept up into the holiday spirit, set up a recycling station in your kitchen or on your porch so that it’s as easy as possible for you and your guests to rinse, tear, and toss a can or plastic bottle into the right bin. Don’t let the festivities give you any excuses to let your sustainable habits fall by the wayside.
5. Keep your decor eco-friendly
Decorating your house for the holidays can be one of the most enjoyable activities of the season (or, well, maybe one of the most stressful). So while you’re going through your box of holiday decorations, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Before you run out to buy new ornaments, come up with a few fun DIY options instead. Most DIY projects call for supplies we already have sitting around our houses, from cardboard boxes to construction paper. Plus, if you’re having a holiday party, ornament making is a great activity to keep guests occupied and get them talking! And before you set up your string lights, check to make sure they’re in working order first (there’s nothing worse than hanging up a bunch of lights only to plug them in and realize they’re burnt out! And if you find yourself ready to replace some lights, make sure you buy LED lights as they typically use up to 90% less energy than other light bulbs. And if you want to be particularly mindful of your energy usage this holiday season, it could be the perfect time to look into switching your home over to clean energy. That way you can rest easy knowing that all the energy you do use is being matched with 100% clean energy — and lucky for you, Inspire has you covered. We can help you sign up for clean energy in as little as five minutes. Click here to switch.
While there are certainly a lot of different ways to reduce your impact this holiday season, the 5 ways listed above are some of the best ways to start. Minimizing our environmental impact with simple yet mindful actions like these is not just going to help us minimize our individual carbon footprints, but will help minimize our collective impact. Because when we stop purchasing non-recyclable goods, this tells manufacturers that eco-friendly products are in high demand. Every dollar we spend makes a difference. And this holiday season you can make sure that your dollars make a positive, sustainable impact.