Yes, I know it’s cliche, but it got you here, didn’t it! Here are a few ways to have a more sustainable and environmentally friendly Christmas/holiday season!
- Tree or no tree? Overall, a real tree is better – if you go and cut it down yourself instead of buying it form a tree farm. Tree farms use pesticides, and real trees sequester carbon when they are alive, which is good! Conversely, waste from fake trees contributes to landfills: if you live in a forest like I do (well, my parents do), the tree can be put out back in order to contribute to the forest when it breaks down over time. Also, fake trees are often made of non-recyclable (and non-degradable) plastic, creating more waste. So, go out in the snow and cut down your tree! If you live in a place without trees, try your best to stay away from plastic trees – those are the worst for the environment. For more on this debate, visit Mother Nature Network.
- Wrapping gifts. In this category, you could do what I do and re-use newspapers, or do what my mom does and sews gift bags that we have been using for years. If you go the newspaper route, make sure you remove the tape and recycle the paper when you’re done! You could also wrap presents in “Eden’s Paper”: biodegradable plantable paper with seeds inside (for carrots, broccoli, tomato, chili and onion). Or, just don’t wrap them – this option is the best for the environment, and perfect for last-minute gift givers. See, they are doing something right! For more on “Eden’s Paper” visit TreeHugger, and to donate to their Kickstarter for more plant options, click here.
- Gift giving. You could go with a recycled glass plant grower, a wallet made out of recycled leather from car seats, or a bike bag made of recycled tarps. Or, you could go the DIY route and make organic treats, ear warmers out of recycled yarn or regift something so that it doesn’t end up in a landfill. Lastly, you could give your child a stick instead of an iPad: this prevents electronic waste from an old device, packaging waste, and promotes peace of mind. Get out into the forest!
- And the kicker – BUY LESS. This is better than all of these combined – I know I’m repeating myself but if you buy less, less goes to landfills.
No matter what you celebrate, reduce, reuse and recycle this holiday season!