The holiday season can be fun, festive and filled with celebration. It can also be a time of high impact on the environment - with the potential for huge amounts of discarded paper, plastics, food and packaging. The Clean Air Council estimates that an additional 5 million tons of waste is generated during the holidays in the U.S., and 4 million tons of this is wrapping paper and shopping bags.
Are there things you do to reduce your impact on the Earth (and the oceans) during the holidays? Share your tips below, and read more here!
Just do less
- We buy less and decorate with less than we use to. Just by doing less, we are saving more and helping out or planet.
Alternatives to paper, ribbon, and bows
- I've wrapped gifts with secondary gifts sometimes. I've used cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, and scarves instead of paper. Belts, shoestrings, cloth tape measure or elastic headbands can be tied or stretched around gifts instead of using ribbons. Barrettes, brooches, or holiday ornaments make lovely alternatives to bows.
- —Guest lila
Alternative Wrapping Paper
- We try to avoid storebought wrapping paper by using materials we already have, like newspaper, brown bags, fabric, or kids' drawings. We also reuse ribbons and bows from year to year.
- —Guest Catherine
Reusable Gift Bags
- A few years ago we began investing in some nice, cloth, decorated bags that have drawstrings. Not only are they eco-friendly but they make wrapping a breeze! Every year, we invest in a few more because they've wandered off but overall they've been great to have, are attractive and make us feel like we're not wasting all that paper and tape.
- —Guest Robin
Lower the Heat
- Not just at the holidays, but all winter long we use a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the heat each night.
- —Guest Tim
- Reuse wrapping like ribbons and bows, that last much longer than 1 use.