While the holidays might look a little bit different this year, many of us are undoubtedly looking forward to some time spent indulging in good food, taking time away from work, and of course, catching up on sleep.
During the holidays, it’s easy to get carried away with the fact that it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” which can lead to overspending and even have an impact on the environment. That’s right--a recent article by Forbes shows that the holiday season is oftentimes far from “green.”
On average, we produce 30% more trash during the holidays than any other time of year, which consists of:
8 million Christmas trees
54 million platefuls of food
100 million trash bags full of packaging from toys and gifts
The amount of waste is staggering, and it’s definitely something worth considering on an individual level. Is there a way you can cut back this holiday season, so that you don’t do damage to the planet while partaking in all the festivities?
The good news is, there are steps we can all take to have a more environmentally-friendly holiday season this year. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to go green during the holidays, here are 3 ways to get started.
1. Buy sustainable gifts
Rather than spending big on gifts that your kids will grow tired of after a few uses, the environment will thank you for shopping smart and sustainably this year. Buying from local vendors and artisan shops is a great way to support business owners in your community (which is especially important this year!) It also saves on transportation costs, which can otherwise be detrimental to the environment over time.
Another way to shop sustainably is to choose items that are made from recycled sources or are recyclable themselves. If you’re in the market for a new mattress this year, Naturepedic’s organic mattresses meet all of the highest standards for sustainability, making them a great gift option that’s not damaging to the environment.
2. Start some new "green" traditions
Are your favorite traditions slightly wasteful or potentially harmful to the environment? Think about it. Maybe you need to adopt some new traditions that keep the environment in mind, like decorating a tree for the birds, taking a nature hike, or planting a wintry tree.
By cutting out holiday activities that add to the amount of waste you produce each year, you can focus on establishing more eco-friendly traditions that are much better for the environment.
3. Choose homemade whenever possible
The key to being more eco-friendly during the holidays is to constantly ask this question: Can I make that myself in a way that’s more sustainable? If you already have a bunch of spare scrap paper (or brown bags) lying around the house, make your own wrapping paper this year and save on all that one-time usage.
You can even revamp your holiday decorations by opting for secondhand items (like antiques) or homemade items that you create from scratch. This will help you reduce the amount of non-recyclable items (like ribbons, glitter, and sticky tape) that you’re using.
Hint: wrapping presents in brown paper, twine, and adding a tiny branch or two is both sustainable and beautiful!
What steps do you take to make sure that your home, including your sleep environment, is eco-friendly?