There is something to be said about a season that’s made up of peppermint and sugar cookies, gift giving and receiving, tinsel and mistletoe… okay maybe no one uses tinsel anymore, but you catch my drift—it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s killing our planet.
The other 11 months of the year do their fair share in harming the environment, but December sees an immense increase in waste each year. Think about it:
- Wrapping paper
- Artificial trees
- Excess food
- Unwanted gifts
- Broken Christmas lights
A million tons of holiday waste will be created this season, and landfills will be exploding, come January. Over the years some improvements have been made to reduce garbage like LED lights and cutting your own tree—I mean what’s more Instagram-worthy than that?
So how can you help make the holidays a bit more environment-friendly?
Get a Real Tree
This has made a come-back in a big way and although it might seem like old news, chopping down your own tree is actually quite trendy. Artificial trees might seem like the better option because they can be reused year after year, but no one keeps a tree longer than 6-10 years at which point they end up in a landfill, where they stay forever. Support a local tree farm and at the end of the season your tree will go back to the earth.
Beautiful gift-wrap doesn’t need to be from a roll. If it must be try and look for recycled paper, or at least one that can be recycled. Alternatively, wrap with pretty fabric, a nice tea towel, or a reusable canvas bag.
If you invest in LEDs you’ll be saving a whole lot of garbage, and money in the long run. These can be found for both indoor and outdoor lighting.
Do you ever look around your house and wonder how you got so knee deep in stuff? Do you ever get the urge to grab a garbage bag and ransack your children’s play spaces? This year try and keep gifts to a minimum. Remember that less is more, especially when it comes to your kids. Opt for experiences rather than material gifts.
The issue around food waste is a problem all year round, so just imagine during an entire month centered around parties. Buy local, organic food as much as possible. Support your local farmers and plan your meals so that you aren’t left with an excess amount of food to throw away.