Happy Eco-Friendly Holidays!
It’s Green Monday, one of the year’s busiest shopping days. People everywhere are hitting the stores and online checkouts to get their last-minute gifts in time for the big day. It feels good to spend some extra green on the ones you love. Unfortunately, all that buying, along with some other holiday traditions, puts a strain on the environment.
In the US, we throw away 25% more waste from Thanksgiving to New Year’s than any other time of the year. Then there’s the uptick in air travel and the extra energy needed to power all the twinkly lights. This is detrimental to an environment that’s already in trouble.
So this year, let’s go green and reflect on ways we can have a more eco-friendly holiday season.
Give Green Gifts
When it comes to gifting, you don’t need to cut back to be environmentally friendly. There are plenty of ways to employ green gifting tactics and still go all out.
An easy strategy is to buy from businesses that practice sustainability. There are plenty out there, and supporting them helps cut down on solid waste, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and lowers energy consumption.
You can also give the gift of a service or experience. These don’t require packaging and wrapping paper that may end up in the trash. A massage, acupuncture session, tickets to a concert, or a gift voucher to a restaurant are all great choices.
When ordering gifts online, try to avoid next-day shipping if you can. That convenience comes with an environmental cost, primarily due to inefficiencies in the delivery process.
Use Eco-Friendly Wrapping
We’re all familiar with the aftermath of a gift unwrapping free-for-all on Christmas morning. It hurts to think of that mountain of trash ending up in a landfill. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
For your physical gifts, use recyclable wrapping paper - no glitter, glue, or metal. You can also get creative and customize your gift wrap using:
- Organic fabrics
- Newspapers or magazines
- Craft paper
- Recyclable gift bags
- Glass jars
If you send out holiday cards, make sure they’re recyclable. Better yet, go paperless and opt for digital cards. And that leads us to our next idea.
Give Experiences as Gifts
We live in an age where stuff is everywhere, and easily attainable. But we rarely remember things that we’ve bought unless there was significant meaning attached to it, like your first home or new car. Fortunately, creating new experiences is much more memorable, all the rage, and eco-friendly. Consider giving memorable experiences such as one’s first Whole Body Cryotherapy session or HydraFacial®. And if you need help, Restore has gift cards!
Save Energy on Holiday Decor
Decorating your home with LED holiday lights instead of the old-school incandescent style is a must. They use up to 90% less energy, which saves you money on utility bills and also helps reduce carbon emissions.
When it comes to interior decorations, opt for all-natural. Get crafty and make your own wreaths and garland. The artificial versions you find in stores are often made with plastics and other non-recyclable materials.
Compost Your Christmas Tree
This subject draws a lot of debate. Should you go real or fake? When it comes to sustainability, it turns out real trees are better - much better. In fact, a 6.5-foot fake tree carries a carbon footprint of around 40 kg of greenhouse gas emissions - twice the amount a real tree creates if it ends up in a landfill. However, real trees still produce methane gas in a landfill, which is why sustainable disposal is so important.
Here are some eco-friendly ways to get rid of your tree when the holiday season winds down:
- Many cities offer free tree collection and turn all the donations into mulch.
- Compost your tree.
- Look into replanting your tree.
- Turn it into firewood.
If you suffer from allergies and an artificial tree is your only option, choose one you love and use it for as many years as possible so it stays out of the landfill.
Plan A Sustainable Feast
Food waste skyrockets during the holiday season. To avoid this, plan your holiday feast carefully so you’re not overbuying and throwing food out. If you end up with too many leftovers, either send them home with your guests or freeze them.
When it’s time to get your holiday groceries, shop local and support farmers who provide sustainably-grown produce and meats. The food will taste better and your money will stay in the community. Also, factory foods that travel long distances use more natural resources than local options.