How much food do you see just dumped into the trash after a long night of holiday partying? And how many parties do you go to where you see sad plates of leftover fruits and cheese that you just know are going to be dumped? I've gone to at least 3 - and that isn't all that I'm going to this season.
Looking at the child playing in wrapping paper remnants like they are leaves in autumn should make you realize that all that paper waste isn't quite necessary. Fun - yes. Environmentally friendly...not really.
And then...you know you have them...there are those neighbors that have 5,000 lights decorating their house and their lawn and the flashing Santa and reindeer on their roof. I don't envy their energy bill!
But as the saying goes, trouble comes in threes, and these three are perhaps the biggest ways that we create waste over the holiday season. But what if you don't want to add to that?
Food waste is a fairly easy issue to rectify. Give people leftovers and doggie bags! I'm sure family and friends will be more than happy to take the leftovers of your famous mac'n'cheese home to the kids. And rather than use plastic bags and contribute to the alarming levels of plastic pollution, have a stash of tupperware that you don't mind not getting back from people and hand those out instead.
Paper waste takes a little bit more creativity. We are so accustomed to wrapping gifts in paper that doing anything else stretches our brain a little. But once you get rolling, it can be quite fun!
Here are a few ideas for some greener wrapping this year -
- "Wrap" jewlery in a unique jewelry box.
- Use handkerchiefs or scarves to wrap more square objects...or anything, really. (If you're looking for inspiration, and instructions...try searching for furoshiki).
- Use old maps or newspapers to wrap the presents, especially for those who have wanderlust!
- Use fabric or home-sewn scraps of fabric to cover the present
- Box it with a separately wrapped top and bottom and encourage the recipient to re-use.
- If you're giving someone your favorite recipe, layer the dry ingredients in a Mason jar and attach the recipe with ribbon.
Last but not least, energy waste. Generally, you should be monitoring the energy in your home - but if you do want to splurge and celebrate this holiday season, aim for LED lights rather than the standard strings of white or colored holiday lights - if you weren't aware, LED's can be up to 90% more efficient than traditional lights.
With all this in mind, have a safe and happy holiday season!
Jackie Ryan is a freelance writer who, while she does not always enjoy working with cross country movers, always seems to be exploring new places. She always aims to find greener ways to do something or get somewhere.
Image Credit: Flickr - pagedooley