By: Angela Murillo-Martinez
The holiday season is finally here! It’s time to bring out the gingerbread cookies, play Mariah Carey on repeat, and watch Home Alone every day until Christmas. Although the holidays are going to be a little different this year it won’t ruin the holiday spirit that we all love so much and look forward to each year. That being said, it’s important that through this season, we keep in mind the harms that our habits can have on the environment.
The holiday season is the perfect time to spend with friends and family, however, a lot of waste may be caused because of it. The United States alone produces 25 million tons of garbage Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s, according to Stanford University.
This is a large amount of trash that is being produced during a small period of time and that can be easily avoided if more sustainable choices are made. From changing the way we wrap our gifts or changing the kinds of lights we use to decorate our house. Every change, big or small has an impact towards our community and our planet. Here are some ways you can continue to have a fun Christmas while being sustainable.
Decorate with LED Lights
Not only are they more environmentally friendly, but they also last longer than incandescent bulbs. This saves you time and money by not having to be changing light bulbs every time one stops working.
LED lights also use much less energy than incandescent bulbs. So not only will your house look great with all the colorful LED lights you put on, it will be using much less energy than the regular bulbs you use. Since they generate light without producing too much heat, they also help reduce the risk of burning yourself with the bulb.
Using LED lights leads to a more sustainable and economical choice to decorate your home this year that will not only have the planet thanking you but also your wallet.
Shop Local and Small
Buying your gifts at local shops helps reduce the amount of packaging that is used to package and ship online orders. Although ordering online can seem more convenient and fast, especially during these times. It can be harming the environment much more than we realize.
Many times, the package that you ordered online, will have to travel many miles to get to you. Which produces more CO2 emissions and harms our environment even more.
When you buy local and support small businesses, you are supporting those who live in the same community as you. Instead of investing in big businesses such as Amazon, you are investing in your community.
Many of these small businesses are what make our community so unique and fun, and without them, it wouldn’t be the same. So not only would you be reducing the amount of CO2 emissions and packaging waste, you would be supporting your neighbors, by shopping at their small, local businesses.
Get Creative with Wrapping Gifts
Many of us look forward to unwrapping gifts each year, but we don’t realize how much waste we are producing by doing this. Using conventional wrapping paper often leads to all of it being thrown away and is left unrecyclable. Especially if they have glitter on them or are made of foil. Each year, Americans throw away tons of wrapping paper and only create more harmful waste. But look no further to find ways that opening gifts can still be exciting yet sustainable.
As we move towards a more sustainable future, many online shops are beginning to sell eco-friendly paper that is not only recyclable but biodegradable. Many of them offer many different kinds of decorated wrapping paper that will continue to support your holiday spirit and will also create a cleaner community. You can also get creative and recycle old maps and newspapers to wrap your gifts. This makes your gifts look truly unique, but it will be giving another purpose to that newspaper you were going to throw away. You can also use one of the many tote bags you may have. Not only will there be a nice gift inside the bag, but they will be able to reuse the bag for their own use.
It’s changes like this, that can truly make a positive impact in the long run. As much fun as the holiday season can be, one should always be conscious of what the impact of their decisions and habits are. Even though this year, holidays will look a little different and we’re going to be physically apart from each other, we are still able to continue our traditions while making sustainable decisions.