Whether you’re hosting a party or just shopping for your own gifts, the holiday season is all about sharing. But before you get carried away with giving or decorating, consider taking a few steps to minimize the amount of waste you’ll generate. Here are some tips for reducing waste this holiday season:
- Research products before buying them. Before you buy any of your holiday gifts, do some research to see if there are similar items that consume less packaging and energy, or are more sustainable in other ways. Take clothing as an example. If you have a niece who would appreciate a new pair of jeans, but you hate the idea of buying yet another thing wrapped in plastic packaging, consider buying her a gift card to her favorite store instead. Do a little research and find out if there are brands that make jeans out of recycled materials, or ones that use less packaging.
- When purchasing gifts, keep in mind that while wrapping paper might be shiny and festive, it’s also highly disposable. Consider using newspaper or biodegradable wrapping paper instead; they make great reusable gift wrap as well.
- Purchase reusable gifts. This holiday season, why not give gifts that will last? Instead of giving away hats, mugs, and other accessories that will probably just end up stuffed in the back of a drawer, purchase reusable gifts for everyone you know.
- Once the holidays are over, don’t just toss out your decorations! It’s fun to reuse items that have sentimental value or just give them a new purpose around your house — like a wreath on the front door or an artificial tree in the living room.
- Get creative with food. Food is one of the biggest expenses during the holidays and it often leads to waste—and not just in terms of how much you eat. For example, make your own homemade hot chocolate mix instead of buying prepackaged versions that come with excess packaging and don’t last very long after they’re opened. You’ll still have a treat, but you’ll be doing something nice for the environment at the same time.