The holiday season is coming up, which means gifts, cheer, and lots of sweets. But there’s a darker side that we need to address – the waste generated. According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25% more trash from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. This is a serious problem that cannot be ignored. So, here’s some ways to make your holiday season more sustainable.
Sustainable gift wrapping
Think of all the wrapping paper, bows, and tissue paper needlessly thrown away every year. The best way to combat this is to put presents in reusable packaging. This can include things like gift bags and boxes. Another way to lessen the impact is wrapping gifts in things you already have, like newspaper. This makes for a super cute vintage look. And if you absolutely can’t go without colorful wrapping paper, try to find a recyclable version.
Purchase long-lasting gifts
I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy anything trendy, but just think about how long it will take an item to end up in the landfill before purchasing it. Buying someone a durable, long-lasting item will probably be more appreciated than a trinket that will be thrown away in a couple months.
Searching stores like goodwill or websites like Depop for used items can really cut down on waste. There is some stigma attached to second-hand stores, especially buying gifts from them, but that is largely driven by companies who want you to buy their new products. Also, it may be frowned upon to re-gift something you didn’t like, but it is so much better than just putting a gift in the garbage.
Make your own presents
Purchasing stuff for a gift is a nice gesture, but it often feels hollow and consumeristic. I really believe that the best presents are the ones you make. Some ideas for homemade gifts are baked goods, knitted items, soap and art.
Give experiences, not items
This is probably the best way to make sure nothing is thrown away, and it’s also the perfect gift for anyone who says they don’t want anything. An example of an experience gift is classes, which could be for things like cooking, art or sewing.