While I love the holidays as much as the next person I also tend to get overwhelmed by the amount of waste that is produced this time of year. In fact, 25 million tons of EXTRA trash is generated this time of year in The U.S. alone. Ugh. That hurts my heart.
The good news is that small changes can add up to have a big impact. Here are 3 ways you can reduce waste and still feel like you are winning the holidays.
Buy Used Gifts
This time of year everyone is cleaning out their closets, toy bins, kitchens, etc. in anticipation of the holiday. You can score amazing finds at your local thrift and consignment stores. Used gifts are better for the environment because you are extending the life of existing goods. They also come without all of that extra packaging.
Another thing to consider is reducing the amount of gifts you give. Over the years we have significantly cut back on the amount of gifts we give (and ask to receive) and it has been really freeing. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and shopping mindlessly, I have more time to focus on buying more thoughtful and purposeful gifts. Holiday shopping no longer feels like a chore, but is actually fun and enjoyable.
Be thoughtful when purchasing holiday decor. Ask yourself if the product can be reused for many years, whether or not its biodegradable, and where it will end up when you are finished with it.
You can also start a fun tradition and make your own Eco-friendly decor. Most items are relatively easy to make, cheaper than store bought decor, and best of all, are biodegradable.
Get Creative with Gift Wrapping
Most wrapping paper and gift bags are not recyclable. I’m not sure why this is still a thing, but it is. There are a few ways you can help reduce this type of waste.
First, reuse what you have, and then store it and reuse it some more. I never buy gift bags. I save every gift bag we get and reuse them for as long as possible.
Use kraft paper and never buy traditional wrapping paper again. Kraft paper is recyclable and compostable. Jazz it up with reusable ribbon, twine, or evergreen trimmings.
My favorite, and the cutest; use fabric to wrap gifts. You can use tea towels, old table cloths, fabric scraps, etc. This is a great tutorial on how to make and use fabric gift wraps. These fabric wraps can be reused for years.
There you have it. Three easy changes to help reduce waste and still feel like a holiday rock star.
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