8 Ways to Have a Sustainable Holiday Season

Last Updated on December 6, 2023

The holidays are a time after we indulge our households and associates with meals, items and playing cards. But it will also be a time of stress, extra and waste.

That’s why making the fitting selections is vital: They can decrease the influence on the atmosphere whereas celebrating with those we love.

This publish was sponsored by the Paper and Packaging Board’s How Life Unfolds® marketing campaign. All ideas and opinions are my very own; for extra info please see my disclosure coverage.

I prefer to take a slower method to the vacation season. Making Christmas cookies from scratch, hanging up some dried citrus garlands for adornment, and making the home odor wonderful with festive simmer pots are a few of my favourite vacation traditions.

If you’re seeking to decelerate and actually expertise all of the delights of the vacation season, listed below are a few of my favourite tips about how you can unfold pleasure and do it sustainably!

how does the vacation season have an effect on the atmosphere?

During the vacation season, family waste will increase by greater than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Years. 

The common American produces ~5 lbs of trash per day, however in the course of the holidays that rises to six.25lbs. With a inhabitants of 331.9 million folks within the U.S. alone, that’s ~2,072,375,000lbs of trash generated per day in the course of the vacation season.

So, the place’s all this waste coming from? It’s from all the extra extra meals and packaging that doesn’t get recycled. However, please word that once you recycle or reuse issues like paper buying baggage, wrapping paper and fancy ribbon, that’s not thought-about waste.

how can we be sustainable in the course of the vacation season?

Having a sustainable vacation season doesn’t should be laborious. Here are some suggestions, tips and concepts to encourage you.

1. recycle (and upcycle) your paper

A papertarian is a enjoyable time period coined by the Paper and Packaging Board to spotlight somebody who lives a paper-based life-style. It’s about choosing paper packaging, after which recycling it when you find yourself finished! 

With the vacation season right here, you is likely to be ordering extra packages than regular. If you’re questioning what to do with all these transport bins and packaging paper, don’t. 

Paper and bins are a number of the most recycled supplies within the U.S. and could be made into new merchandise as much as seven instances!

In 2022, 93.6% of corrugated cardboard packaging and nearly 68% of paper was recycled within the United States. Approximately 80% of U.S. paper and packaging mills use some recovered paper fibers in their products, and most corrugated boxes are made out of 50% recycled materials.  

Recycling retains paper and bins out of landfills and makes probably the most of our pure sources as a result of it may be recycled as much as seven instances. But earlier than you recycle your paper, you will discover festive methods to reuse or upcycle it.

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Here are some enjoyable methods to upcycle paper this vacation season:

  • Make some star ornaments out of bathroom paper rolls.
  • DIY some paper snowflakes for vacation decor or DIY ornaments.
  • Use cardboard tubes as reward tags, serviette rings, or reward pouches.
  • Save cardboard bins to reuse for items.
  • Use brown paper from shipments over the 12 months to wrap Christmas presents. Decorate them with festive stamps and ink for extra pizazz.

2. select sustainable wrapping

Did 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper is made within the U.S. annually and half of it (that’s 2.3 million kilos!) leads to landfill.

When wrapping items, it’s a good suggestion to go for wrapping paper that has no glitter or foils to ensure it’s recyclable. Always double test your native recycling guidelines although, as they will range from state to state. 

I like to make the most of salvaged packaging paper to wrap items too. Last 12 months, I saved up all my brown paper, then bought rubber stamps and ink to create actually cute home made wrapping paper. 

To safe your items, use paper tape to chop again on plastic. Or, merely use compostable twine or upcycled ribbon. For ending touches, tie on some dried citrus or pine sprigs. 

3. go for a sustainable card

Making playing cards is one among my favourite traditions. I like receiving bodily playing cards, and have an entire field of sentimental playing cards that I’ve saved over time from early birthdays, graduations, my marriage ceremony and so on. It’s so good to have the ability to pull these out and skim the phrases from my family members, particularly family members who’re now not with us. 

I’m an enormous fan of the tactile nature of playing cards, however whether or not you make them your self otherwise you get them from a retailer, it’s your private message that actually warms the guts. I at all times go for a 100% paper-based card as a result of it comes from a renewable useful resource, they usually’re recyclable. To make your personal, seize some drawing paper and get inventive.

Paint on it, or draw on it with markers, crayons, or coloured pencils. Or make it a household affair: Grab your associate and/or children and provides them a card to write down out. They can select who they need to deal with it to and personalize it their very own approach!

You may make a stamp from a potato within the form of a tree, then use plant paints as a substitute of ink so your card is totally plastic-free. 

4. reward consciously

It’s so vital to reward consciously. You can do that by selecting items your family members will adore and truly use. 

Think about what they really need or want: What can they use proper now? Practical items are at all times a secure wager, like a coupon to a automobile wash or {a magazine} subscription?

Ask them what they want most, or take heed to what they discuss in regards to the subsequent time you’re collectively. Are they at all times speaking about getting new baking sheets? Have they voiced how laborious it’s to afford one thing you can assist put cash in the direction of? PJs or thick wool socks?

See also  The Ultimate Sustainable Living Guide

You may donate to a charity or volunteer time of their identify. This is much more impactful when it’s one thing they strongly consider in, like environmental or social causes. 

Lets additionally normalize re-gifting: If you could have one thing another person would need, and aren’t utilizing your self, why not re-gift it? It’s higher than gathering mud in your shelf.

Of course, when unsure, cash will at all times be appreciated and by no means goes to waste. 

5. defend your ornaments with out the plastic 

Reusing the identical ornaments annually is an effective way to cut back waste. Always use what you have already got.

Plus, many ornaments could be (or develop into) household heirlooms with quite a lot of sentimental worth. My mom nonetheless has some ornaments from her grandmother’s time and they’re so valuable to us – we beautify the tree with them yearly.

It’s vital to be sure you put them away safely after the vacations are over. I like to recommend upcycling a cardboard field and wrapping fragile gadgets in upcycled tissue paper, crinkle paper or kraft paper. Even outdated newspapers can suffice in a pinch.

This will guarantee you may simply pull it out of storage and stay up for making extra vacation reminiscences subsequent 12 months.

6. select the fitting tree

Did that actual timber are higher for the atmosphere than faux plastic timber?

All actual Christmas timber are grown on farms. In reality within the U.S., 350 million trees are grown on Christmas tree farms, so that you don’t have to cut a tree down from the forest to get one.

Christmas timber are grown like crops on farms, so the farmer will usually plant 3 seedlings at any time when one will get picked.

Plus, when Christmas ends you may recycle it on the finish of its life by turning it into compost or mulch. 

Many massive cities and cities have curbside pick-up choices together with drop off facilities for recycling. 

For instance, Mulchfest in NYC is a big occasion the place they’ll chip your tree into wooden chips and use it to nourish timber round NYC. More than 58,300 timber had been recycled final 12 months alone.

An much more eco-friendly choice but is to discover a place that permits you to rent out a living tree for the vacation in a pot with its roots intact. 

At the tip of the vacation season, they’ll come and decide it up and return it to their forest nursery, the place the timber will proceed to supply oxygen, contribute to the ecosystem, and function wildlife habitat.

However, if you have already got a faux plastic tree, proceed to make use of it to stop waste. Plastic timber can’t be recycled with curbside recycling. When it’s prepared for retirement, contemplate getting an actual tree as an alternative.

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7. scale back meals waste

Who doesn’t like to take pleasure in good meals in the course of the holidays? Between cookies, truffles, mains and sides, the choices are infinite.

But Americans waste round 30-40% of the meals provide, and that quantity rises by 25% in the course of the holidays – aka Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. 

Here are a number of methods to cut back meals waste this vacation season:

  • Ask your company to carry their very own containers to allow them to take some leftovers dwelling or present some paper to-go containers.
  • Actually eat your leftovers! Here are some inventive methods to make use of them up.
  • Compost any meals/cooking scraps you could have.
  • Don’t over-cook: Focus on making sufficient for the folks you’ll be serving. Meal prepping and planning upfront can assist with this.
  • Prepare solely what your company will like so all of it will get eaten (attempt to keep away from any meals they’ve expressed robust disdain for).
  • Make positive to honor dietary restrictions! Make positive to speak to everybody about their diets earlier than you intend to cook dinner.

8. high quality time

Above all else this season, spending high quality time together with your family members far outweighs any possession you may get them. 

We’re typically bombarded by advertisements this season telling us to purchase extra. This results in overconsumption, stress, panic-buying and quite a lot of waste in the course of the holidays. 

But what if we simply slowed down? What if we took the time to focus much less on amount, however high quality? 

Here are some methods we are able to get pleasure from time with our family members:

  • Grab a espresso at an area cafe and catch up (bonus factors if you happen to problem one another to not test your telephones!)
  • Host a lady’s night time, order pizza and get artful
  • Watch a cooking class and eat the spoils collectively when finished
  • Sign up for a guided nature stroll or foraging tour collectively
  • Complete a puzzle or board sport (Scrabble is at all times enjoyable!)

You may additionally probably ask for expertise items. Even higher, ask for an expertise you may share collectively, like a live performance, film tickets, musical, or play.

Or ask for no items in any respect, if you happen to’d moderately simply make the vacations a bit less complicated and have already got what you want. That will free each of you to simply concentrate on creating enjoyable reminiscences collectively.

And, an enormous thanks to How Life Unfolds®  for sponsoring this publish. Be positive to go to https://www.howlifeunfolds.com/holidayguide to be taught extra about having a sustainable vacation season. Don’t neglect to additionally take the Papertarian Pledge!

Also, be at liberty to go to their Instagram deal with @howlifeunfolds and take part of their  #GoPapertarian marketing campaign.

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