The holidays are here again and this is usually a period of joy, love and sharing. From a sustainability standpoint, it is our desire that the season is celebrated with little or no strain on the environment, society and economy (our pockets). This would lead to more cost savings, more resources availability in the community and then a lesser ecological footprint.
In a bid to having a pleasant time with family and friends, we tend to be guilty of making extravagant acquisitions, using non-recyclable wrapping paper, improper disposal of party wares and high electricity bills. All these old habits have huge impact which is bad news for the environment (and our pockets as well).
Backed by extensive research and scientific evidence, here is our list of ideas for a greener Holiday that will help you curtail your energy and material consumption. It is our intention to inspire you to be resource-efficient, thoughtful and considerate at this time of celebration, as a show of respect for our mother Earth and for our society at large….
A recent Harvard study came to the conclusion that doing local supermarket runs, crafting your own gifts and ensuring optimum resource usage make the holiday season more sustainable, saves money and creates avenues for positive impact in your Society.
Read on to discover easy ways you can green your holiday this year and avoid some mistakes that over 70% of our populace make;
Mistake 1. Storing Gifts you do not like and may never use:
This happens a lot as most of us are in the habit of piling up junk (that came in as gifts). Personally, I have cleared a lot of stuff in my closet by giving them out to people who need them. It happens to everyone – you receive a gift you don’t like, but you keep it anyway.
What to do:
This Season, start by going through your house and closet to donate clothes and unwanted gifts to local charities. This should be part of our routine to ensure we extend the life of materials to save the environment, care for others and save some money by avoiding new purchases.
Mistake 2: Using non-recyclable Wrapping
Did you know that some gift wrapping are not even recyclable or reusable? A vast majority of what we use to wrap gifts are made up of non-recyclable materials.
What to do:
If you still have gifts to give this holiday, you may want to think of other gift wrapping alternatives to help the environment. Keep bags of trash out of the landfill by creating your own simple gift wrap from recycled shopping bags or brown paperbags.
Mistake 3. Producing or Purchasing New gifts items:
Most times, we spend a lot of resources producing or buying brand new stuff that may not meet our expectations. Even when the items meet our expectations, the manufacturing processes use a lot of fresh resources (Energy, water etc) with huge impact (resource depletion & pollution).
What to do:
You can either participate in or organize garage sales (informal event for the sale of used goods by private individuals). Instead of purchasing new gifts always, consider checking out stores where you can shop for classic or neatly used items. You’ll also be saving money and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time by finding great deals on retro wears and items.
Mistake 4. Neglecting Local craft stores:
A lot of gifts on the shelves of our stores are imported from far countries and come with indirect impacts on the environment (and direct impact on our finance). It is no longer news that gifts are becoming predictable as folks can effortlessly guess what their next birthday or holiday package will be. This soon will mean nothing that the act of giving may be watered down as family and friends are already used to gifts like designer bags and chocolates.
Craft store at Terra Kulture
What to do:
Why not DIY (do-it-yourself)? Fashioning your own gifts can be a worthwhile experience, and personal gifts are always meaningful. You can take it one step further by using recycled and sustainable materials (we’d share more on this in subsequent post). You can opt to shop locally for handmade crafts that can easily be customized. By doing this, you reduce your emissions (savings from the importation footprint) and support a sustainable local economy at the same time. Support the local economy by them by checking out local boutiques, farmer’s markets, and craft fairs to find great gifts that are totally unique.
Mistake 5. Use of artificial Christmas trees & Artificial Decorations:
Our gorgeous and most significant Christmas trees are only on display for a few weeks before ending up in the discard pile at the curb.
Photo credit: Frank Genovese, Candy Cane
What to do:
Extend the life of your Christmas tree by purchasing a live potted tree. You can grow a tree and this gives you a living Christmas Tree. If you live in a small space, you can also create a Christmas tree alternative by decorating a potted plant. Natural Christmas decorations are fun and easy to make, whether at home, with kids, or even at your office!
Mistake 6. Use of non-recyclable Disposables:
During this season, we tend to use a lot of disposables (cups and plastics) at Christmas parties and celebrations. We all are aware of the plastic pollution which has led to the defacing of our oceans and drainages.
What to do:
Reusable materials provide a better long-lasting option find charming mismatched sets of china and dishes that you’ll use again and again. If you must use disposable, spring for unbleached compostable (nature-based) products that have little or no toxins and break down more easily than conventional disposables.
Mistake 7: Wasting Energy:
I guess Electricity is cheap and that is why we leave lights on all day? No no.
Don’t leave your Christmas lights on all day. It is bad for the environment and it cost you money in terms of bills. A string of 100 incandescent mini lights runs at about 60 watts, while 50 wide LED lights use just under five watts. This means that powering an old-fashioned set of Christmas lights could cost you 10x more than powering a set of LEDs.
What to do:
LED or energy-efficient light bulbs not only uses less energy, but also reduce emissions like carbon dioxide. In addition, new LED and other low-energy Christmas lights are now much more affordable and available. Most outdoor solar streetlights come with sensors that turn off the lights in the morning and dim them even at night leading to great energy savings. Better still, simply turn off the lights at dusk.
“Remember, upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.” -Alexander the Great
As the holiday season is upon us, I find myself reflecting on the past year and those who have helped to shape this blog: YOU. It’s been quite a year for us all!
I hope that 2019 has been just as memorable for you, your colleagues and your loved ones. I look forward to working with you in the years to come.
Best wishes for a New Year of Happiness in a World of Peace.