From eco-friendly gifts, to responsible shopping tips, to reducing waste, here are 6 tips for a greener holiday this year…
According to most industries, the holiday season is the time of year with the highest level of consumption. While this is great for the economy, excess consumption often means waste and environmental damage. The good news is, simply by changing our holiday habits, we can alter the environmental impact we have during the holiday season, and create a more sustainable future for our planet.
So how can you reduce your environmental footprint this holiday season and have a greener holiday?
Here are a few tips:
1.) Buy Items That Promote Green Industries or Sustainability
Buying a gift for a child? Try something fun and educational, like a Chia Pet. The “pet” will grow leaves right before the child’s eyes, and they will learn about plants, nature, and how to take care of a living thing (no walking required)!
Buying a gift for an adult? What about an organic chocolate bar, with recycled paper wrapping? Or how about a bag of organic, free-trade coffee? You will be spreading the message that greener holiday gifts can still be fun and thoughtful, while supporting environmentally responsible companies with your wallet.
2.) Look for Long-Lasting Gifts
Try to avoid gifts that will only be used for a couple weeks, then discarded. Instead, try to give people gifts that they’ll use time and again. Sometimes these gifts might just be everyday items, but the recipient will be reminded of your thoughtfulness every time they use it.
For example: Know that someone loves coffee but doesn’t have a coffee maker? Why not get them a nice French press that will allow them to make delicious coffee at home? Or give a houseplant to someone you know with a green thumb. They will enjoy the added beauty the plant brings to their home, and with proper care, the plant should live for a long time.
3. Don’t Buy From Physical Stores
One easy way to reduce your environmental footprint this holiday season is to shop online instead of from stores.
This may seem counter-intuitive since the product then has to be shipped to you, but actually there is a lot more fuel consumption involved in shopping from a brick-and-mortar store. Remember that the goods in the store were first shipped there (often from numerous different warehouses), and then of course you had to sit in traffic to get to the store yourself.
However, when you shop online, the supplier can ship the product to you directly (along with many other items being delivered by the same postal carrier). This method saves several legs of the journey, making this a much greener way to buy presents – plus it’s a lot less stressful than sitting in traffic, fighting the crowds, waiting in line, etc.
4.) Invest in Eco-Friendly Christmas Lights
Instead of buying disposable Christmas lights that you’ll just throw away after one use, buy a high quality set of LED or other high-quality Christmas lights. While these may cost a bit more up front, they will be worth in the long run, as instead of breaking or having bulbs that go out after only a use or two, you’ll have a set that you can use for many years to come.
Also, turn off your lights when you’re not using them. This helps increase your lights’ longevity, as well as save electricity.
5.) Bring Your Own Bags
If you are shopping at stores in person, bring your own bag. Don’t use plastic bags. There are reusable cloth bags available everywhere these days. Stock up on some, and use them!
6.) Donate Old Toys
Inevitably, we all get a gift here and there that isn’t really our style. So what happens to the holiday presents you receive that you don’t use? Or what about toys or other gifts that your children may have outgrown?
Don’t throw them away. Instead, give them to a charity like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Instead of ending up in a landfill, your used (or unused) gifts can go to someone who will use and appreciate them.
These are just a few of the many ways that you can make your holiday season a little greener this year!
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