Are Your Holidays Keeping the Planet in Mind?
The Holiday season is truly a time to celebrate and enjoy surrounded by friends and loved ones, plus good food, presents, and beautiful season décor. These are traditions we should not have to miss out on, but the reality of it is, the holiday season can be extremely wasteful. According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year season than any other time of year. This amounts to about 25 million tons of extra garbage (1 million per week) in already overflowing landfills and is due to people over consuming food, buying decorations, and products, and not using what they already own. It can be as easy as wrapping 3-4 presents in re-used material, which could save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields or a family reusing just two feet of holiday ribbon. With that, we could tie a bow around the entire planet! Small changes can make a big difference in our holiday waste footprint.
So, what are some ways you can reduce holiday waste? Utilizing wrapping materials you already own does a lot because gift paper is not recyclable. For wrapping presents, use saved gift bags and tissue paper, use newspaper, magazine pages, and maps , or package gifts in thrift baskets. Not only is this easier on the planet, but it could also be easier on your wallet. Another idea --give a sustainable or an experience gift. Ideas on River Action’s social media pages, which can be found using the handle @RiverActionQC include a rain barrel with a red bow, locally made or handmade items, a season pass to our Q.C. Environmental Film Series, or a candle making class. Not only can these seem a bit more meaningful, but you could also enjoy the experiences with them.
Lastly, as you enter the New Year and start making resolutions, think of areas where you can make green resolutions. Start by finding ways you can lessen your everyday waste and create more sustainable habits, like bringing a to-go cup to get coffee and always using your reusable grocery bags. Find ways to get outside more and connect with nature. Take that road trip to a nearby National or state park, or take a simple walk on a bike path. All in all, as the holiday seasons continues, we ask you to think and act intentionally and keep the planet in mind when you do.