Tips to Reduce Waste During the Holidays
Ready for this frightening fact?
According to Use Less Stuff, they report that from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, Americans throw away 25% more trash. If that’s not scary enough, that number equivocates to an extra 25 million tons of garbage. Yikes! So, what can you do about that? Adopt a few eco-friendly habits to keep in mind during this holiday season.
With all the holiday parties, gift exchanges, and how you spend the holiday weekend, there are a lot of opportunities to be more resourceful and help to reduce or eliminate waste.
Dinners and Parties.
- Reduce food waste. There can be a lot of waste from a simple (if there is such a thing) holiday dinner party. Don’t waste your money or your time preparing too much. Get an accurate guest count and use this estimator tool to help determine how much you need. While you think leftovers are great now, between preparing the food, cooking it, and eating, it’s easy to give up on leftovers quickly.
- Ditch the disposables. You never realize how much drinkware you need until you have too many people and not enough cups! Plan ahead and skip the plastic cups! Save the planet and yourself time and money for years to come by purchasing a lifelong set of reusable, unbreakable Silipints. You can grab assorted sizes like Wine Glasses, Pint Glasses, and even Kid-Friendly Half Pints. They’re unbreakable, eco-friendly, will last you a lifetime and can be easily thrown in a dishwasher at the end of the party for easy clean-up.
*Sili Santa Tip: Be fully prepared by grabbing a set of 18oz Squeeze-a-Bowls. They’re perfect for setting out different dips and sauces. Best of all, if little kids show up to your soiree, you can give them a colorful, unbreakable bowl that isn’t afraid to “roll with the little ones.”
- Save money and reuse. Handle and store your holiday decor safely. Not only will you be happy to pass on ornaments to your loved ones in the future, but you’ll also be helping the planet by not buying new stuff every year.
- Recycle properly. Items that plug-in, charge up, or take batteries should not be thrown in your everyday garbage bin. If you need to retire old lights that are no longer working, check your city’s regulations on how to dispose of them properly.
- Speaking of energy use, unplug! As beautiful as your house might look lit up and decorated, when you turn in for the night and when you leave in the morning, unplug all of your lights. It’s not worth the hazardous risk it imposes on your home and it expends unnecessary energy.
- Save and reuse. There are so many occasions that we either give or receive gifts. These gifts are usually wrapped in colorful paper, placed in nice boxes and finished off with a satin ribbon. Instead of throwing these materials away, start a bin of reusable gift wrappings. This article from U.S. News says that on average, Americans spend about $3.2 billion on wrapping paper (and bags) every year. Stand out, be unique, and choose to reuse.
- Create wrapping paper. Get artsy with items like paper bags or leftover boxes. Decorate them with colored pencils, paint, glitter, or anything else you can find in your craft bin.
- Shop local. Even if just for a handful of your gifts, if you can shop locally to find your gifts you’d reduce packaging waste, as well as pollution associated with the effort it takes to get your gifts to you.
- Find eco-friendly stocking stuffers. There are great alternatives to common stocking stuffers that contain less plastic packaging or are more eco-friendly. If you are gifting unbreakable Silipints, you could grab a 22oz Bomber, fill it with a few other items like natural chapstick, homemade truffles, a Silicone Travel Lid and set of Silistraws for a colorful surprise.
- Be an eco-conscious consumer. Look for lifetime guaranteed brands and products that are built to last. They have much less impact on our environment over time if they can be reused time and again.
Or, give an experience. If you’re gifting to a close friend or family member, plan a day together doing something that they’d enjoy like cross-country skiing, sledding, or taking them to a local show or class.
There are also very meaningful gifts you can give that aren’t physical items. Consider donating to a charity in someone’s name if they’re passionate about a cause.
If you’re looking for new traditions, getting outside for a yearly trip is a great one to consider. Whether it’s just you, your family or friends, plan a getaway to nature for the holidays.
Rent a cabin somewhere, or rough it in the elements, if that’s your style. Spend time enjoying each other’s company, cross-country skiing peaceful trails, roasting marshmallows and sipping hot cocoa. Make timeless holiday memories as you break away from the ordinary. If you do get out into nature, remember to enjoy it responsibly with these Leave No Trace principles. These Earth-friendly habits will help us all appreciate our time outside and most importantly, leave it better for future generations to experience.
Have a Jolly Holiday.
No matter how you spend your holidays, remember to take in the joyful moments around you with your loved ones. They are, after all, what makes all this mayhem worth it.
Cover photo by The Wilderness Collective