I love this time of year! When the ground freezes and the nights get long. When you take time to eat delicious meals with family and friends, even if virtually. When the snow flies and you decorate your space in honor of the season. However, as holidays come and go, I find myself throwing away a lot of single-use items. Therefore I’ve decided to go into this holiday season with the intention of giving back to the planet by reducing my waste.
I have found the biggest contributions to my holiday waste are decorations and gift giving. Decorations are a lot of fun but the conventional method of buying single-use decor can lead to a large amount of trash in the new year. So when shopping for decorations I plan on asking myself, “what will happen to this when I am done with it?” If the answer is that it will end up in my trash, I will either refuse to buy it or look for a better alternative.
What do I mean by a better alternative? Let’s explore the example of tinsel. Tinsel is a garland designed to mimic the look of ice on a tree or a mantle. Tinsel is made of flimsy plastic that can’t be recycled or composted and is hard to remove from a Christmas tree when the season is over. A better alternative to tinsel would be a garland made of colored paper that can be recycled or an edible garland that can be composted or a reusable garland such as decorative ribbon that can be saved.
When the time comes to put up a tree I plan on supporting a local tree farm by buying a fresh cut tree. If you’re unable to handle and care for a natural tree, I recommend choosing a fake tree that you will commit to using year after year. As for gifts this year, I will fall back on the saying, "the best things in life aren't things.” I will plan to show my compassion through alternative methods. I can bake treats and share meals with others, virtually or by drop-off. Additionally, I can write a thoughtful song or poem for my loved ones. I will also explore local thrift stores and artisan markets to support the culture of reuse and upcycling.
Above are just a few ways I am trying to eliminate my holiday waste. I’d love to hear how you plan to reduce your environmental impact this holiday season. Please feel free to share ideas by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy holidays!