Solid Strategies for #ZeroWaste

7 Tips For A More Earth-Friendly Holiday Season

Image of a holiday gift wrapped in zerowaste kraft paper

Key Takeaways:

  • The holidays can be one of the most magical times of the year, but they’re also one of the most wasteful
  • With these seven tips you can enjoy a more mindful holiday season, which is great for both you, the planet, and your wallet!

To me, the holidays are one of the most magical times of the year. The lights. The gatherings. The food! The joy and goodwill. Yet, the holiday season can also be one of the least Earth-friendly times of the year as we forget some of our good zero waste habits out of convenience during this busy time.

With a few simple swaps you can enjoy a more eco-conscious holiday season, which is great for both you, the planet, and your wallet!

Ditch the disposables

It’s no doubt that paper, styrofoam, and plastic plates and their cutlery and beverage counterparts are super convenient. When finished, clean-up is a breeze! However, these items are costly for both the planet and your wallet. Instead, opt for your regular dinner plates, cups, and silverware. If you don’t have enough, ask to borrow a second set from a friend or relative. Alternatively, you can find loads of extra sets at second-hand stores which you can donate back once you’re finished. (And make sure to wash up with eco-friendly dish soap or dishwashing detergent!)

If regular plates, cups, and cutlery still aren’t an option, be sure to choose eco-friendly disposable options like 100% paper plates or compostable cups and silverware.

Avoid food waste

Food waste is a major environmental concern during the holiday season that’s filled with gatherings of family and friends over piles of delicious food. Yet, often we’re left with more leftovers than we can eat. Some simple steps to help with this problem are to send guests home with leftovers. Ask everyone to bring a few takeaway containers and load ‘em up before they leave! Or host a low-key “seconds” party when everyone can enjoy the delicious food a second time.

Be sure to also clean out your fridge or freezer in advance so you have plenty of space to store your leftovers to avoid throwing them out before you can enjoy them.

Repurpose it

I grew up in a family that always saved the wrapping paper so this feels like second-nature to me, but if you didn’t, you’re in for a treat! Be sure to gently unwrap those large items and save those nice, big chunks of wrapping paper for smaller gifts next year! And it’s a no-brainer to also save gift bags and bows in your stash.

You can save holiday cards for making new cards (just remove the section with the writing, that’s usually on the blank side and save the pretty picture on the front to create a new card from.) Or cut them up for repurposed gift tags!

Make your own wrapping “paper” 

You can get super creative while also avoiding to buy and waste wrapping paper by using fun items around the house for your outer wrap. Think cute tea towels or scarves. Or, reuse an old brown paper bag and add your own festive stamps to make a unique paper wrap. You can also place gifts in jars and add your own ribbons and tags to really spruce them up!

Give unique #zerowaste gifts

One of the best parts of the holidays is finding that perfect gift for your loved ones. But, how about instead of buying something brand new, think outside the box! Look for unique items in your local Buy Nothing New group, or pick up the perfect gift at a second-hand shop. Or bake or create your own gifts. Another amazing gift idea is a gift of an experience, such as tickets to a show or a hot-air balloon ride. Finally, you could consider donating to a beloved charity in your loved one’s name.

Shop at your local farmers market or pop-up holiday market

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint this holiday season is to shop local. I know from experience that there are plenty of makers who create amazing and unique gifts that your loved ones are sure to be thrilled by. Just search on Facebook for market events near you. And if you’re local to the Triangle, NC region, be sure to check us out at our upcoming holiday pop-ups!

Introduce a loved one to eco-friendly gifts

Finally, what better way to expose more people to the #zerowaste movement than to gift them eco-friendly alternatives to things they’re currently using (solid shampoo and conditioner bars, anyone?).

With these simple switches, we can all have a more Earth-friendly holiday season and feel good about the time spent with family and loved ones. The Earth will thank us!