The holiday season has arrived, and with it MANY opportunities to purchase gifts, arrange getaways and gatherings, invest in light decorations, and scroll through different platforms to take advantage of a lot of (if not infinite) sales. But does that align with making your holidays sustainable?
Everything feels like a wintery dream, picture perfect for a Hallmark movie until… you remember how much waste the society makes during the year and, more so, during this time of the year.
Did you know that the average American produces 5 pounds of trash per day (aka 35 pounds weekly)? But, during the holiday season, the numbers worsen. Americans produce 43.75 pounds per person each week. With an average population of 330 million people, this translates to 2,887,500,000 more pounds of garbage generated per week during the holidays relative to the rest of the year.
Doesn’t these numbers invite us to think about the consequences of our actions? Yes, celebrating many important dates plus the end of the year is a great deal, but if we do so in an irresponsible way affecting the planet, doesn’t it take away the joy and magic of it?
There are many things one can do to reduce its carbon footprint and waste during this time of the year.
Here are 4 things you (and your loved ones) can do to have an eco-friendly holiday time!
1. Home-made is always better (and more nutritious!)
There are many things you can do at home for this season. Like handcrafted gifts and decorations and more sustainable and plant-rich recipes.
You do not need your gifts to be extravagant and/or expensive, just memorable and meaningful. From YouTube and Pinterest tutorials to sweet recipes (we love polvorones, for example), there are a lot of things out there that you can try to create. In the meantime, you’ll have fun making it! Like origami pieces, or organizing a gathering and painting tote bags while cooking polvorones. Options are infinite!
What you share at the table is as important as what you gift! We encourage you to try a more plant-rich diet this season. In fact, many cultures around the world offer several vegetable-based recipes that are both nutritious and planet-friendly.
You may say, but it’s winter, after all, we need the protein! But… did you know that meat production is a major driver of the climate crisis? Also, you can find protein and many other nutritious alternatives in different seeds, vegetables, and vegan alternatives.
With this, we are not encouraging you to change your diet and what you like prepping for the holidays. But just to take into consideration how you can reduce meat consumption and replace it with seasonal and fresher alternatives.
This will not only benefit the planet but also your health!
2. Don’t panic! Purchase your gifts in a responsible way!
We know that online sales and those remarked prices can serve as a temptation to buy presents for you, your family, your friends, your pets, and even your neighbors.
The sale tag is a great way to purchase things you need or like, but don’t fall for it. We bet that sometimes you open your wardrobe and think to yourself “When did I buy this thing?” Probably when you saw it on sale. So, to make it enjoyable, sustainable, and budget-responsible, here’s an idea: make a list of what you need what presents you want to give, and to whom. Research, compare offers and brands, and even dare to visit stores that upcycle items or use recycled sustainable materials.
This way, you’d be taking advantage of the offers and/or promoting a circular economy that focuses on reducing waste and increasing the reuse, recycling, and recovery of products and materials.
3. Go vintage!
New clothes and decorations are amazing! The perfume, the fabric, the chance to use something for the first time. But… vintage alternatives are as good as new clothing!
Nowadays, people all over the world buy 60% more clothing than almost 20 years ago. And, worse than that, each item lasts only half as long as they used to. Positioning the fashion industry as the second-biggest consumer of water and responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions.
This time, we invite you to rethink your look and explore second-hand shops. You’ll be amazed at how many original, long-lived things you can find!
4. Reduce food waste (yes, you can do it!)
Planning the holiday breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be entertaining but also budget-challenging and time-consuming. Impacting negatively on one’s life and therefore producing food waste.
Each year, 80 million tons of food is wasted in the United States. That’s the same as 149 billion meals. And over $444 billion in food is thrown away each year. And over the holiday season, those numbers increase even more.
So, when planning holiday gatherings, it is always a good idea to shop only for what you’ll need, and even if there are leftovers dare to re-invent your recipes and be able to enjoy them the next day.
Here’s a delicious idea that you can try no matter what you’ve eaten the day before!
Sustainably celebrating the season may sound challenging, but it’s easier than you think and, really, more creative! These 4 tips may be the tip of the iceberg of what can you put into practice not only this time of the year but during the year to come!
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