The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but they can also be an extremely wasteful time of year. While we love to celebrate with our loved ones, we believe in the power of intentional gifting and celebrating sustainably to reduce our holiday environmental impact.
Unfortunately, each year over 7 million pounds of waste are produced in the peak holiday season, which is 25% more than any other time of year. (Stanford Education). Why do we produce more waste over the holidays? It's because we tend to consume more, and often times we consume things that we just don't need. The biggest holiday waste offenders are gift wrapping, food waste, returns, decorations and packaging. (Business Waste)
While we aren't suggesting that we should deflate our holiday spirit, a few little changes in the way we consume can go a long way.
Intentional Gifting: when it comes to the art of gift giving, we recommend taking a more considered approach about where and what you spend your hard-earned dollars on. Here are is our philosophy on sustainable gift-giving.
- practical gifts that people use everyday for their kitchen, bathrooms or favourite activities. It's best to ask what someone is looking for rather than to gift something they don't need
- reusable items like water bottles, tote bags or mugs
- consumable products like chocolate, wine, soap, cheese or preserves
- locally made products, and items that are small batch with environmentally conscious materials including natural and biodegradable materials
- pre-loved gifts are back in style and can be so thoughtful. Whether it is a set of vintage crystal or your favourite book, you can often find higher quality pre-loved goods in vintage or thrift stores, and make a more thoughtful gift
- experiences are wonderful gifts that have no long-lasting waste. A trip to a concert, museum or your favourite restaurant can be a very special way to celebrate the holidays
- un-wrapped gifts - look for items that don't come in a lot of packaging and don't feel that you need to always wrap a gift, some twine or newspaper wrapping is just as beautiful
- homemade presents are always appreciated whether it is a batch of your famous cookies, a friendship bracelet, painting or plant that you propagated
Celebrating Sustainably: it is important to take time in our lives to celebrate the year with our loved ones. There are many small ways you can adjust your holiday celebrations to make them all the more sustainable:
- decorate with nature: instead of buying plastic decorations and running Christmas lights throughout the night, we recommend decorating with nature. Garlands, wreaths and bows that are locally foraged or purchased from local nurseries can make for a beautiful and festive home, without the plastic or carbon footprint.
- shop local + in-season ingredients when you are cooking your holiday meals. Farmer's markets are a great way to find unique ingredients that will make your holiday feast even more special
- swap your meal to a vegetarian meal, or opt for primarily vegetarian dishes to reduce your carbon footprint
- meal plan head to save leftovers, make soup stock from food waste and compost what you don't eat
- use a potted Christmas tree so it can continue to be a carbon sink throughout the year