It’s hard not to feel completely overwhelmed by the current environmental reports. It seems like there is no way that we can make a difference, especially with
our dumpster fire extremely divided government that seems hell bent on doing nothing but fighting with each other.
However, I am trying my darnedest to remain optimistic and believe that we, the people, can save our mother earth. The holiday season is one of our worst times though and our waste increases by more than 25% during this time of the year! So, below are some suggestions on how to improve your own carbon footprint, because if we all do this, we’ll be making a positive and impactful change.
The Wrapping and Paper
WHY oh why do we do this. I am equally guilty because I love the look of pretty presents. But did you know that over 4 million TONS of wrapping paper and bags go to the landfill each year in the U.S.? That’s ridiculous considering the pretty outside gets ripped off in 5 seconds and cast aside.
How to improve:
- Use recycled paper to wrap gifts! Old newspapers or magzines, the ridiculous binders of old notes, or the recycled brown paper are all great options. You can even decorate it yourself with coloring, stamps, or painting. Way cuter and personal than a spool of silver snowflake wrapping paper.
- If your paper wrapping is not metallic, glossy, or wax coated, it can be recycled or composted.
- Wrap in extra fabric pieces, or reusable gift bags!
- Skip the card that accompanies the gift. Can we all just be honest with each other and say that 99.9% of these cards get thrown away?
- If you want to mail out Christmas cards, you have a few options. Send a postcard that doesn’t need an envelope (plus cheaper postage!). Make your own cards out of recycled paper! Or take the cards you received last year, cut off the note side, and make them into a postcard to send!
If you know me at all, you know how much I love Christmas. If you don’t know me, well… it’s bad. Like, listen to Christmas music in August, force my dog to wear a Christmas collar almost all year, and frustrate my minimalist husband with my totes on totes on totes of decorations. So I was a bit nervous to look up the stats on this… but it turns out, there is plenty of room to be merry AND kind to the environment.
How to be environmentally festive:
- L.E.D. lights! If you use incandescent lights, your electricity usage is about FIFTY times more. Woof.
- Buy or rent a living Christmas tree.
- Artificial trees are more harmful to the environment than real trees. Just make sure you buy from a local tree farm, AND make sure to recycle the tree after the holidays.
- It’s okay if you use the same decorations each year. Seriously, just keep what you have and don’t buy anything else.
- If you must have new decorations, look around. What can you repurpose or reuse in a new way? Here is a list of really creative crafts that are adorable and eco friendly.
Oh boy, this one is a biggie. Did you know that 60% of American’s receive unwanted gifts each year? And that 70% of people wish there was less gift giving and less emphasis on spending at the holidays? If we can improve in this area, not only will it be an amazing for the planet, it’ll be super nice for your wallet.
How to be an eco friendly yet awesome gift giver:
- Give the gift of experiences, not things. Less waste, and includes quality time and creating memories with loved ones. This one is a no-brainer. (A National Park Annual Pass is an incredible gift…. just saying).
- Are you mailing gifts? Do it early and use ground shipping since it uses way less fuel.
- Shopping local, homemade, DIY, and functional gifts are the way to go. Christmas gifts are supposed to be about the thought and care put into them, not the amount of money.
- Look for products that are made from recycled materials. Buy from companies that are environmentally friendly. Will it cost you a few more dollars? Maybe. Is it worth it? YES. FACT. If you’re buying online, just type “eco-friendly [gift you want]” and you’ll find a plethora of options!
- When you do go shopping for tangible gifts, bring your reusable totes and say no to the plastic bag. BONUS – you can do this ALL YEAR LONG!
I hope you join me this holiday season in loving both Christmas and the environment. You don’t have to pick one or the other!