The holidays are almost here, and we’re ready to celebrate! With so many other tasks and to-dos vying for your time over the next month, it can be hard to keep a focus on sustainability. However, this results in some startling statistics. For example, the average American produces an estimated 6.25 pounds of trash per day around the holidays. That adds up to nearly 3 billion pounds of landfill produced - yikes! We know you’ve got plenty else to worry about in the final stretch of the year, so we’ve compiled a brief list of ideas to help you live more gently on the planet while also celebrating the holidays joyfully!
Reinvent Gift Wrap
Did you know that most gift wrapping is not, in fact, recyclable? The plastic film that makes gift wrap shine or that adds a bit of sparkle cannot be accepted at most recycling facilities, so much of this paper simply ends up piling up in landfills in January. Instead, let out your creative side! Get crafty with old repurposed paper like hiking or road-trip maps, opt for reusable gift bags that can be stored for the following year, or even use cloth to wrap presents. You can even make bows with thinly cut and curled paper that can be recycled with paper shreds after the holidays. By avoiding purchasing new gift wrap around the holidays, you can help reduce landfill use and engage your creative side, all while saving a bit of money.
Hosting a group of loved ones for a holiday meal this season? Entertaining is a fundamentally holiday-esque event (which we personally love), but it usually comes with quite a bit of trash. Taking a few extra small steps during planning can drastically cut down on the amount of landfill created during holiday get-togethers. Consider using your regular plates, cutlery, and cloth napkins instead of purchasing disposable sets. If you’ve got the means, collect for composting any food scraps created during cooking or unclaimed leftovers that won’t be eaten. When planning out your menu, you can choose your groceries mindfully to include local and in-season produce, food that comes in recyclable or compostable packaging, and try to build in some vegetarian and vegan options, which reduce the carbon footprint emitted from the meat industry. Ask for guests to bring tupperware, and at the end of the night have everyone bring home a portion of leftover food rather than tossing it (or, often like us, forgetting and letting it spoil at the back of our fridge - oops). Make sure to reuse any holiday decorations you purchase for your special event, or store them for next year.
Choose Experience-Based Gifts
The holidays are steeped in consumerism, and often result in overbuying and purchasing more stuff than we truly need. Store returns following the holidays contribute to a significant chunk of trash production during this time of the year, as much of it is not reshelved and sold again. To combat this, shop mindfully about gifts that your loved ones will cherish and use for years to come. Even better, when you can, try to find clever experience-based gifts rather than physical items, such as gift certificates to restaurants, museum passes, or a group cooking class. Experience-based gifts are a great way to build memories with your loved ones throughout the year, and extend your gift well beyond the month of December. You can also give donation-based gifts, where money is donated to a cause or charity that’s significant or meaningful to the recipient. (At our household, we’re personal fans of this last one.)
Shop Sustainably With Us!
At Summit Sustainable Goods, we curate the best local zero waste household care and personal care products that are super giftable. When shopping physical gifts this holiday season, you don’t have to compromise on quality, sustainability, or ethical products. We’ve got that all covered for you! All our products are verified for clean ingredients and zero waste packaging, and many even support minority and/or BIPOC-owned small businesses. It’s just another way we live into our values of being as environmentally and ethically conscious as possible, and pass the holiday cheer on to you!
Where can you find our curated selection of high quality and sustainable products? Easy! Check out our website at www.summitsustainablegoods.eco or visit us at a local pop-up around town. (Info available through our website or socials.) Want to follow our journey and learn about future zero waste events and happenings? Adventure with us by signing up for our monthly newsletter or follow us on Instagram or Facebook to keep up-to-date on all things Summit.