9 Tips for Being Eco-Friendly Around the Holidays
By Emelia DiBello, Co-Founder & Creative Director of The Earthling Co.
The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but it can also be a very wasteful time of year. From all the wrapping paper and gift boxes to the mountains of food we consume, it’s easy to let our eco-friendly habits slide. But there are ways to have a more sustainable holiday season. Here are nine tips for a more eco-friendly Christmas.
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1. Make Your Gifts
This year, why not give a gift that is both eco-friendly and personal? You can easily make your natural lip balm using beeswax, cocoa butter and essential oils. Or, for the person who loves to cook, whip up a batch of solid dish soap using natural ingredients like castile soap and coconut oil. These gifts may take a little bit more time to make, but they will surely please even the pickiest recipient. Plus, you can feel good knowing that your gifts are helping to reduce waste and protect the environment.
If you love these ideas but may not have the time or resources to make them yourself, various brands promote a low-waste lifestyle with their natural lip balms, solid dish soaps and more. Whether they are homemade or not, a sustainable gift is a meaningful and thoughtful idea for the holidays.
2. Choose a Living Christmas Tree
If cutting down a tree doesn’t sound appealing, why not go for a more eco-friendly alternative and get a living Christmas tree? You can find these trees at many nurseries and garden stores. Just make sure to choose a species native to your area so it will be able to thrive in your climate. And be sure to replant your tree after the holidays.
3. Wrap Gifts With Recycled Paper or Fabric
One of the best ways to be eco-friendly around the holidays is to avoid using wrapping paper. Wrapping paper is often made from virgin trees and can’t be recycled. But there are plenty of other more sustainable options. You can use recycled paper, fabric or even old maps. Just get creative and see what you can come up with.
4. Host a Potluck Dinner Party
One of the best ways to be eco-friendly during the holidays is to host a potluck dinner party. To avoid food waste, give each person a firm headcount so they know how many servings they will need to make.
Remember to skip the paper plates and plastic utensils! You can use your own dishes or ask guests to bring their own dishes and cutlery set. Take it a step further and serve local and seasonal food to reduce your environmental impact and support your local community.
After you’ve finished up your meal, use sustainable kitchen utensils like a wooden dish brush to clean up. Swapping to eco-friendly items in your kitchen can be a great way to avoid any harsh toxins during the holidays and year-round.
5. Shop Secondhand
One eco-friendly holiday tip is to shop secondhand. This not only saves you money but reduces the number of resources that are consumed in the production of new items. In addition, shopping secondhand helps to extend the life of products and keeps them out of landfills. So before heading to the mall this holiday season, consider checking out your local thrift store for some unique gift ideas.
6. Use LED Lights
One easy way to have a more eco-friendly Christmas is to use LED lights instead of traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lights use far less energy, saving money on your electric bill and reducing your environmental impact. In addition, LED lights last much longer than traditional bulbs, so you won’t have to replace them as often. And, if you need to replace them, LEDs can be recycled just like any other type of electronic waste.
7. Bring Your Reusable Bags When Shopping
Another easy way to be more eco-friendly during the holidays is to bring your reusable bags when shopping. This helps reduce the amount of plastic waste produced during the holiday season. In addition, many stores now offer discounts for customers who use their reusable bags. So, not only are you helping the environment, but you’re also saving money.
8. Give Experiences Instead of Gifts
Another eco-friendly tip for the holidays is to give experiences instead of gifts. This could mean anything from tickets to a play or a concert to a gift certificate for a day at the spa. Not only could this save you money, but it will help reduce the number of things that are produced. Next time you’re stuck on what to give someone for the holidays, think about giving them an experience instead of a physical gift.
9. Compost Food Waste From Holiday Parties
The last eco-friendly holiday tip to follow during this festive season is to compost any food waste from holiday parties. This includes scraps from cooking, as well as any uneaten food.
Composting is a great way to reduce waste and help the environment. When you compost, you are essentially turning food waste into nutrient-rich soil that can be used to help grow plants. Not only does this reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills, but it also helps improve soil quality.
Happy Holidays and an Eco-Friendly Christmas
There are many easy ways to be more eco-friendly around the holidays. By following these tips, you can help reduce your environmental impact, save money and support your local community. So, this holiday season, commit to being more sustainable and help make a difference for the environment.