The festive season is the best time of the year. People are in the spirit of giving and celebration and there is plenty joyousness going around. The problem is, that this is also the time of year that we generate the most waste. In fact, worldwide, waste production increases by 30% over the holiday period.

Buying gifts, decorations, and an extra large quantity of food, tends to have an effect on the environment. Before the festive season is in full swing, consider these ways to be more eco-friendly over the holidays.

1. Support local 

Shopping local does more good than you think. While it’s great for the economy, it also reduces waste. Locally manufactured products, and locally produced food items, means a reduction in the pollution caused by shipping, and getting those products to you. Try doing your shopping at a local Christmas market, check out this list to find one near you.

2. More thoughtful gift-giving 

Gifting can cause a lot of waste production. Especially gifts for kids. Plastic toys and other such items are not long lasting and often end up being thrown away. Make sure that you’re buying items that will be put to good use, for a long time.

Homemade gifts are also a great option and are a lovely way to show people that you’ve given their gift a lot of thought.

Another route you can take is to give the gift of an experience. A memory lasts a lifetime.

 

3. Be creative with gift wrapping 

Shiny and colourful gift wrapping paper is usually non-recyclable, and on the occasion that it is recyclable it’s very difficult to do so. Instead, try wraping you gifts with brown parcel paper and make it look pretty by tying it up with a string or ribbon.

Another way around the gift wrapping paper dilemma is to wrap the gift in a scarf.

4. Take your own bags 

Be sure to leave some reusable bags in your car. This ensures that, when you go shopping, you won’t have to use the many many plastic bags provided at the shops.

5. No more paper cards 

If you’re the type who likes sending out a good holiday card, consider replacing the classic paper or card board card with an E-card. Check out Canva or Open Me, and start designing!

Alternatively, if you’re up for some creativity and crafting, you can go for a leaf pressed card.

6. Decorate consciously

Buying new decorations annually is bad for your pocket and the environment. Timeless decorations are definitely the better option, you could even try decorating with plants and flowers.

Lights are also not really eco-friendly. But, energy-saving LED lights use 90% less energy than normal holiday lights. So if you’re set on using lights, then those are the ones to go for.

7. Use your fancy dinner set

Entertaining is a lot of work, and you may be tempted to use disposable items to reduce the cleaning at the end of it. It would be better to avoid doing this. Perhaps you can take out the fancy dinner set thats never been used instead!

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8. Reduce food waste

Look at how food items are packaged before you purchase them. Make sure they are light on packaging or consider buying loose items.

If you have too much leftovers, you have a few options. You could ‘repurpose’ the meal into a new meal for the next day, you could freeze some of the food, or you could donate some food to those in need.

9. Carpool

Parties, get-togethers, and meet-ups are almost a daily occurrence during the festive season. Reduce fuel consumption and your carbon footprint by organising a carpool.

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