Imagine Christmas morning. If you are like many families, there will be mounds of gift-wrap and packaging taking over your living room. There are countless amounts of decorations and unused gifts. Then think about the meal. Some resort to prepackaged food or paper products if there are not enough dishes or to make cleaning easier. It is an eco-friendly nightmare. The holidays can increase waste by 25 percent. Amazon.com provided a few ideas to make your holidays a little “greener” this year:
- Gift Selection. Try to pick out a gift that you know the recipient will use. Handmade gifts are always thoughtful, as well as spending time with the person or performing a service for them. Amazon allows you to search for eco-friendly gifts, as well as has the option of “Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging”, which features recyclable boxes that are easy to open and free of excess materials such as hard plastic clamshell cases, plastic bindings, and wire ties. If you don’t know what to get, try a gift certificate. Then the recipient can get a gift they know they will use, and it uses less packaging.
- Gift Wrapping. Gift wrapping makes up a large portion of the waste during the holidays. Much of it is not recycled or is not recyclable. Reuse gift wrapping or consider buying or making reusable cloth gift bags. You can use materials from around the house for gift wrapping, or even try wrapping the gift in another gift, such as a t-shirt, pillowcase, or towels.
- Decorating. Some people do go overboard with their holiday decorations, but you do not have to give up festivity for eco-friendly. Find decorations that you will reuse for years to come. Think of things around your home that remind you of the holidays. You could even create a collage of photos or string photos on yarn in place of streamers.
- Preparing the Meal. Prepackaged food may be more convenient, but think of the benefits of a home-made meal. Not only would it use less packaging, but home-cooked foods are generally more healthy and flavorful. Also, try to stay away from disposable dinnerware. If you do not have enough dishes, you could ask guests to bring extras, or you could purchase reusable dinnerware for special occasions. Cloth napkins are also an eco-friendly option. These options bring a little extra work of washing, but it is worth it to know you are helping the environment.
The holidays do not have to be an environmental disaster. You can still be eco-friendly without giving up your traditions and festivities. Try some of these helpful tips to make your holidays a little “greener” this year.