Did you know that during the holiday season, the average Canadian family contributes about 45% more waste to the landfill?
Though everything around the holidays comes from a thoughtful place, there is an unfortunate by-product that we need to consider while indulging in our traditions: waste. Before I start stressing you out, relax. Enjoying a ‘greener’ holiday season doesn’t necessarily mean drinking vegetable broth in an undecorated room gifting each other high-fives. It will still be magical, and reducing your waste during the holidays will actually make things EASIER for you in many ways. It can be less expense, demand less time, and require less clean-up. It’s mainly about planning ahead, as much of the waste during the holiday season is a result of convenience.
All the merriness is there. You’re just focusing more energy on the REAL magic of the holidays: spending time with friends and family, reflecting on the past and future, and spreading holiday cheer. So without further ado, here are our holiday tips and gift ideas!
The issue: It’s common knowledge that holidays mean food, and lots of it. But there is something wrong when you’re sliding half of the meal that you slaved over all day into the trash can.
How to fix it: Something that we would do well to get out of our heads is this: You don’t need to prepare way more food than needed in order to be a good host. Be realistic about how much food your guests will eat, make practical use of your leftovers, and if you don’t already compost, get yourself setup with a green bin this December. Ignite your competitive fire. Can you host a holiday party with literally no food waste? Challenge accepted.
Wrapping Paper and Packaging
The issue: Although wrapping paper has become so commonplace in our holiday traditions, and gifts might feel naked or incomplete without it, the glittery excitement of a well-wrapped gift comes at a price. Metallic wrapping paper, as well as most types of tape are not recyclable. Gifts are thoughtful, and there’s still a way to wrap presents in a beautiful way but in a way that doesn’t fill up your garbage.
How to avoid receiving a ton of wrapping paper: Why not send a friendly reply to the host of your gift-exchange organizer suggesting the group go ‘paper-and-packaging-less’ this year? Suggest that gifts come wrapped in reusable totes, newspaper, in nothing at all, or anything else creative. Die hard holiday stationery lovers may protest, but there’s nothing wrong with sharing your preferences!
How to avoid buying a ton of wrapping paper: This is really easy, just don’t! The magic of ‘unveiling’ gifts, especially for little kids, can be retained by wrapping presents in blankets, old maps, or hiding gifts around the house to be found by answering a riddle. Alternatively, gifting ‘experiences’, like drum lessons or a day of skiing in place of gifts that are wrapped with tons of packaging, is a great way to give without all the extra waste. This sets a great example for your kids that ‘waste is something that our family cares about’. If you take some time to explain why your family is doing things a little differently from their friends, it could be something that they make a concerted effort to consider as well. Think ‘paper-and packaging-less’ birthday parties.. Hooray!
Shop For A Zero Waste Lifestyle
The problem: When we leave all of our holiday shopping to the last minute, we panic and head to the department store to get something, or just ANYTHING, just for the sake of having something to give. If you haven’t been there, you’re lying. The best feeling though is giving something that you know will be used, and reused.
How to fix it: Look for gifts that are made to last. With the zero waste movement becoming increasingly popular, finding reusable items to replace things that have historically been single-use are becoming easier to find. To find some of these eco-friendly products on SPUD.ca, you can see our dedicated page for it here. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, and the person you give it to will be reminded of you every time they put your gift to use- and who wouldn’t want that?
Other quick tips:
- Take reusable shopping bags with you when gift shopping
- Recycle your Christmas tree
- Opt for reusable batteries for electronics
- Send e-cards and online gift certificates
This year, you’re bringing holiday cheer to people you love but with sustainability twist. There’s still a ton of time to prep, organize, and knock the pants off of a great holiday season-without any waste to boot. Have a great holiday everyone!