'Tis the Season for Overconsumption! How to Celebrate the Holidays Sustainably
‘Tis the season for giving, overconsumption, and waste! Now, before you call us humbugs, we love the holidays just as much as the next person, but we DON’T love the 545,000 tonnes of gift wrap that gets tossed out each year! Household waste increases more than 25% throughout the holiday season, so we wanted to give you tips on how you can reduce waste during the holiday season - from wrapping to Christmas day dinner!
Choosing your gifts
It’s time to rethink how and why you shop, especially during the holiday season! Thousands of unwanted gifts are received each year and over 5% of those gifts are not donated or regifted, they are simply tossed out. So, how do you ensure none of your gifts end up in landfills?
Purchase from small, sustainable businesses
Supporting small businesses who prioritize sustainability in their products and within their business is much less taxing on the environment! So many businesses are formulating their products with sustainability in mind, from compostable packaging to unique ideas on how to reduce household waste. By supporting these businesses, you’re also supporting the vision and initiatives of that business - so ensure you’re purchasing items that are ethically-sourced and sustainably produced!
Not sure where to start? We’ve made a Clean and Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide filled with sustainable and toxin-free products from small, women-owned businesses to get you started!
Get away from the traditional ideas of holiday gifts. The best gift is a memory - a memory of an amazing experience they’ll never forget!
The experience you give should be genuine and unique to the person you’re giving it to! For your better half, give them an amazing date that they’ll remember forever. Got little ones running around? Take them on an unforgettable trip! Or how about the dreaded gift exchange? Gifting a DIY project is a fun way to ensure your loved one loves their gift! Our Tierra Scented Candle Refill Kit, for example, is a great gift that comes with the experience of making a brand new candle!
The best part is that you never have to worry about your gift ending up in a landfill somewhere!
Hand-make your gifts
Hand-making your gifts is not only better for the environment, but your friends and family will love them too! By taking the time to make a considerate and well thought-out gift, it gives you the opportunity to slow down and step away from the hussle-and-bustle of holiday overconsumption. This also gives you the chance to repurpose things around your home and give them a new life! Here are 47 great ideas for handmade gifts to get you started!
Now that you’ve got your gifts sorted out, it’s time to wrap! 2.3 million pounds of traditional wrapping paper and gift bags are tossed out every year - it’s time to change that.
Instead of purchasing disposable wrapping paper, try using Plain Kraft Paper! Plain Kraft Paper is a sustainable alternative to wrapping paper and it gives you the freedom to personalize your gifts with stamps, stickers, and drawings. Purchasing unbleached or natural Kraft Paper will ensure that your wrapping isn’t ending up in a landfill, as it can be both recycled and composted!
Another way to sustainably package your gifts is to use alternative solutions such as a mason jar or tote bag! This is a unique way to wrap your gifts and your loved one will love the thought and intention behind your gift, as well as the little bonus gift of whatever you wrapped it in!
There are so many sustainable alternatives for decorations, it’s hard to know where to start. First thing’s first, ditch the fake tree! This one may be difficult to implement and, if you already have a reusable plastic tree, we encourage you to use it for as long as you can.
However, purchasing a real tree from a sustainably-run farm is much more beneficial for the environment than a plastic tree that takes thousands of years to decompose. Local Christmas tree farms that are sustainably run will replant any trees that were cut down throughout the holiday season and they strategically cut their trees in order to maintain a healthy forest!
Switching to LED lights is another way of making your holiday even more sustainable! LED lights use 90% less electricity than traditional Christmas lights and you can even save money on your electricity bill while reducing your impact. Making or thrifting your own Christmas decorations will also help cut back on the waste produced during the holiday season as you don’t have to worry about the packaging ending up in landfills! Here are some amazing ideas for handmade decorations.
Over four million holiday dinners are thrown away year-after-year! To avoid this, plan your meals around the ingredients you already have and borrow spices and other ingredients that you only need a dash of from neighbors and friends!
Before you go shopping, make a detailed list of what you need and be realistic about the portions of you and your guests to avoid making too much. Ask your guests to bring reusable containers to store any leftovers you have, and repurpose any additional leftovers with new recipes!
Turn your leftovers into brand new meals that you can enjoy for weeks after the festivities are over. You can use peels and bones to make bone broth, use cranberry sauce to make muffins, turn mashed potatoes into pancakes, and so much more!
We hope this guide helped you to create new sustainable traditions that you can use year after year to reduce the amount of waste produced during the holiday season. We wish you all a safe, happy, and sustainable holiday season!
-The Everly Team