A Simpler, More Sustainable Christmas

by Alison Lueders, Great Green Editing

If you are rushing to finish your holiday shopping, it’s easy to relegate sustainability considerations to the very bottom of your list.

So here are a few ideas that may save you time and be better for the planet.

First, be aware that “From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%, and this extra trash – mostly food, shopping bags, product packaging, and wrapping paper – adds up to an additional 1 million tons of waste a week that’s sent to U.S. landfills, according to the EPA.” Holiday fun can be had without this.

Tips for a simpler, greener Christmas:

  • Skip the shopping bags – where possible, shop with ┬áre-usable cloth bags or simply carry the items in your arms. In our family, we politely decline bags for items like books, puzzles, candy, etc.
  • Gift wrap differently – rather than buying new rolls of Hallmark paper, wrap you gifts in newspapers, magazines or previously used wrapping paper. Or, leave a gift in the Amazon box, still sealed. It maintains the surprise, and it’s what’s inside that matters. Ever watch a little kid rip apart that amazing gift wrap that you labored over so long – without a backward glance? Think about it.
  • Check out Amazon Certified Frustration-Free Packaging – who knew that Amazon lets you specify packaging that is made from recyclable materials? This option also comes without excess packaging materials such as hard plastic clamshell casings, plastic bindings or wire ties. It’s all part of Amazon’s ongoing commitment to the environment. And shopping online lets you avoid driving to and waiting in long lines at the mall.
  • Recycle packing peanutsJeanette Kjosa of Tampa explains that most UPS stores will take back clean foam packaging peanuts of any size, shape and color. So once all the holiday gifts have been opened, know that this option is a better one that throwing the packing peanuts in the trash.

If you’ve read this far, you are a true Sustany┬« trooper! Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday!