Fun Fact! If every family reused two feet of ribbon and wrapped just three presents with re-used materials—we could save enough ribbon to tie a bow big enough to wrap around the entire planet and enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
Each week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, Americans create over one million extra tons of waste—that’s a 25 percent increase from the waste we usually generate. All year round the Earth provides us water, air, and precious resources. Since it’s the season of giving, this year, let’s give the Earth a vacation from waste by following these three tips:
1. Zero Waste Gift Ideas
Holiday waste-related impacts can be reduced or eliminated simply by what you choose for your gift! Holidays and delicious foods go together hand in hand. Treating your loved ones to edible goodies will increase the cheer and decrease the trash by feeding tummies instead of trashcans. Better yet, give them an experience-related present (e.g., theater tickets) they will never forget and that will produce nothing but good times and memories!
Another way to reduce the impacts of giving is to find low-impact products that feature environmental certifications such as GreenCircle, Cradle to Cradle, or EPEAT certification. If you don’t find any eco-products at the traditional outlets, try browsing some green-product-specific websites such as www.buygreen.com.
look for the labels below :
2. Zero Waste Wrapping
Much of the additional waste generated during the holidays is from gift wrapping. However, there are many options to present gifts in a way that produces more class and less trash. Instead of using traditional wrapping paper you can use gift bags like these. They can be re-used and also make for an easy cleanup, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time with the family. You can also purchase biodegradable wrapping paper or save some money and use old newspapers. If the aesthetics of these options are not up to your standards, spruce it up with a little help from nature by incorporating pine needles, cinnamon sticks, or orange peels.
When receiving gifts with traditional wrapping paper, remove it carefully and you can save it to be re-used at the next party.
3. Offset Travel Impacts
The holidays are a very busy travel time of the year, as people travel all over the world to be together with family. While this increases holiday spirit, it also increases carbon emissions. You may be surprised how affordable it is to offset air travel with carbon offsets. If you’re driving, try to carpool if possible or rent an electric or fuel-efficient vehicle. Terrapass offers a flight-specific carbon offset, an online calculator, and even a gift card if you really want to be a green machine this year.
Tis the season of giving, so let’s all keep in mind how much the Earth gives us each year and what little things we can do to show our appreciation.