13 Dec ‘Tis the Season to be Sustainable
Tis’ the season to up your sustainability game! Some of the tips and tricks in this article can help you cut down on waste this season and create an eco-friendly home for all to celebrate in.
When it comes to decorating for big parties or even just for yourself, the most traditional decorations can be the most wasteful ones. The center of the home during Christmas time is the tree, and this is typically one of the most wasteful components of this merry season. Rather than purchasing a new real or fake tree, we recommend:
- Decorating a tree in your backyard.
- Using a potted tree and planting it in your garden after the holiday.
- Getting a cutting of rosemary or lavender and use it as your tree.
- Thrifting for a fake tree.
A POTTED TREE YOU CAN REPLANT IN YOUR BACKYARD!
What’s great about the cutting of rosemary/lavender is that you can decorate your home with it all year round and it can be used for cooking, tinctures, salves, tea infusions, and more. Listen, I know some of you might absolutely want a real tree. We are not here to tell you what to do… but please think of the animals that live in these trees! If you want a real tree, please harvest from a designated area where tree cutting mitigates fire risk.
Plastic holiday decorations like tinsel and ornaments can be amazingly beautiful on a tree, but most of them end up in landfills. A really easy swap that you can make with ornaments and tinsel is to just create your own out of organic products. One of our favorite ornaments is actually dehydrated fruit, dehydrated flowers, and plants! They hold up on our rosemary tree very nicely and can easily be disposed of by composting. For an easy tinsel swap, you can string organic popped popcorn on organic hemp thread and hang it across your tree. We know that most want a sparkling tree, but conventional string lights are less efficient and a big waste of energy. Think about all of the houses in the U.S. that are using them… that’s a LOT of energy and plastic waste. If you absolutely want lights, we recommend switching to LED lights or getting your lights set on a timer so they automatically turn off. This season, we will be lighting our room with organic candles and incense for a more natural ambiance. Another easy way to give your tree a sparkle is by cutting up fragments of old CDs and placing them on strings so that they reflect the light from your house.
The holidays are considered the time of giving, but when thinking in terms of sustainability, sometimes less can be more. Wrapping paper is one of the biggest plastic waste products out there during the holidays, but no worries… we have a swap for that! Simply use a tote bag to wrap a present (bonus-it is technically two gifts in one) so that the person can reuse it throughout the year. Another way to skip the plastic wrapping is to use post-consumer/recyclable paper to wrap, or even festive post-consumer fabric! When it comes to gift-giving, it can be easy to fall down a consumerism black hole of plastic packaging.
A lot of people give gift cards that can be hard to wrap and made of plastic, so simply send an electronic gift card (Groupon for the win!) You can also work on your craft skills by creating a gift out of thrifted wood or other post-consumer materials. Thrifting is a great deal because it’s cost-effective, thoughtful, and unique. Another way to give a sustainable gift would be by going to your local farmers market, fair-trade stores, Ma & Pa shops, etc. Go through your things and see if you can re-gift items in your home. I know when I was little my Nana gave me one of her scarfs that I absolutely loved, and that meant so much more to me than any plastic toy.
Christmas cards? Have no fear… it’s 2018 and e-cards are here! If you send your family season’s greetings out virtually, you can cut down on postal pollution.
THIS IS AN ALL VEGAN HOLIDAY MEAL WE HAD 2 YEARS AGO, PRE-ZERO-WASTE DAYS! THE GREAT NEWS IS ALL OF THIS CAN BE MADE ZERO-WASTE FROM THE BULK SECTION OF WHOLE FOODS.
One of the most special components of holidays is having people over to celebrate and using your home as the center of joy! Besides all the great sustainable tree swaps, you can decorate your home with so many things that are lying around. Welcome your guests into your home by displaying a home-made wreath constructed out of old holiday cards that you have saved over the years, or even dried up flowers and twigs. You can also test out your DIY skills by making hanging recycled paper decorations that you can put up all over the house. If you wanted to add some more natural lighting in your home, you can easily place organic candles in mason jars on all your accent tables throughout the rooms. Decorate the dining room table by placing a fruit arrangement in the center of the table with a thrifted/post-consumer cloth runner. When it’s time to chow down for your (hopefully vegan/plant-based) holiday dinner, use reusable plates and cutlery that can be washed. This gives your dinner a classier look while also bringing together the family at the end of the meal to help pick up. Try your best to make the holiday meal organic, cruelty-free, and local! See what ingredients can be bought in bulk to cut down on useless plastic packaging. Our Holistic Hacks and Zero-Waste E-books have AMAZING zero-waste holiday recipes!
We hope these simple tips can help convert your traditional holiday festivities to a more sustainable day. Being with friends and family can warm your heart, so use it as a way to strike up conversations about sustainable living and how it easy and cost-effective it is to be an eco-conscious consumer. Who knows, you may even be able to convert some of your relatives to a more holistic, minimal way to celebrate the season (and/or in their life in general!!) We hope that you and your family use this article to have very a merry, sustainable holiday with us this year!