The end of year holiday season is the most wasteful time of the year globally. With the hype and frenzy around Christmas and holiday sales, and consumers trying to take advantage of them as much as possible, on average the entire world wastes one third more during the holiday season than any other time of the year! According to Biffa , a waste management company in the United Kingdom, worldwide there are over 100 million plastic bags sent to landfills over the holiday season and the excess waste from cards, wrapping paper and food increases by 25% to 30%. Here are five practical and simple ways to reduce your impact this festive season:
If you are buying gifts this holiday season doing so with intention will help reduce waste and spending money on stuff people won’t actually appreciate or use. Conscious gifting doesn’t only refer to what you decide to get someone but also how it’s packaged. By now, most of us are aware that wrapping paper contains plastic and is extremely wasteful. A better option would be to either use fabric to wrap gifts, newspaper or recyclable kraft paper. Last year, we published an entire blog post on alternative ways to reduce waste and lower your carbon footprint when purchasing gifts.
Stay away from the plastic disposables:
If you happen to be hosting a get together this festive, (although very tempting because of the convenience) try not to buy disposable cutlery or crockery. Disposable cutlery is incredibly wasteful, just ends up in landfills and more often than not only gets used once. Instead, if you don’t have enough cutlery or crockery for the guests you could ask people to bring their own. If that makes you uncomfortable you could buy second hand items, hire some or borrow from someone you trust.
As mentioned in the introduction food waste increases significantly over the holiday season, which means there will be more than usual leftovers and offcuts from ingredients. Composting is a great way to reuse your waste in a way that will benefit you and the environment.
Buy local as much as possible:
Buying local isn’t only great for the economy but for reducing your carbon footprint too. For a lot of people their small business is their only income. So instead of supporting large corporations who already have millions, by supporting local you know exactly who your money is going to. It’s also a great way to give back to your community, plus you’re more than likely to get higher quality and more unique items versus generic, low quality things that you’ll find at the mall.
Dispose of things properly:
This is critical to reducing waste this festive season. Sorting materials out into what can be recycled, reused or donated will help tremendously. When it comes to food you can freeze leftovers, any gifts that you no longer want can be donated or sold and any decorations can be reused for next time.