The holidays can be a stressful time of year for many, between figuring out what gifts to buy for loved ones to hosting parties, never mind the environmental footprint these things can have.
Here are some tips so the holidays make an impact on your friends and family, not on the environment.
Undo the taboo. Regifting (taking a gift you’ve received and giving it to someone else) has the connotation of being tacky and miserly, but it’s time to rework that concept. If you’ve received a gift that’s not suitable for you but you know someone it would be perfect for, consider giving it to that person. It’s up to you to decide whether or not to tell the person it’s a regift, but the gift should be in good condition and something appreciated by the potential recipient.
Shop local. If you’re going to purchase something, shop local. When you shift your spending towards local businesses, it stimulates the local economy and helps develop a better sense of community.
Reverse the disposable trend. What is the long-term impact of your gift - is it something that will be used once or twice before being tossed, or can it be used in years to come? Will it end up sitting in a landfill, or is it made of recyclable or compostable parts?
Eco-friendly gift wrapping. Wrapping materials can be recycled or reused, but there are more creative ways to make use of things you probably already have on hand. You could use glass jars, a scarf, newspaper, or scraps of fabric. To decorate, try using old buttons, jewelry and stickers.
Sustainable entertaining. It can be tempting to use disposables when having people over, but the impact of single-use disposables continues long after any dinner party. Consider borrowing extra dishes from neighbours and family members, or rent dishes from a catering service. At the end of the night, you can load up the dishwasher, knowing that a full load uses less water than hand washing all those dirty plates.