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9 Ways to Reduce Your Holiday Waste 🎄

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9 Ways to Reduce Your Holiday Waste 🎄

I think, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time for gatherings, delicious food, gift-giving and important traditions. But, HO-HO-HOLD ON: it's also unfortunately, the most wasteful time of year. It's more important than ever to go low-waste this holiday season.

👉🏽 Did you know that waste is estimated to increase by about 25% during this season? Yikes!

On an average day, a typical person already generates 5 pounds of waste, totaling 35 pounds per week. However, this figure increases to 6.25 pounds per individual during the holiday season.

Luckily, there are easy ways that you can create less waste. Reduce your carbon footprint this holiday season with these nine eco-friendly tips!    

1. 🎁 Get creative with alternative wrapping materials

Reuse old fabric such as old scarves, curtains, or even tablecloths. Bonus: you can use them every year! Or, upcycle old maps, magazines, comic books or newspapers. Even simple brown postal wrapping paper decorated with multicolored magic markers can look very charming (on kid's gifts especially)! This reduces waste, and adds a special and personal touch to your gifts. If you must use wrapping paper though, consider switching to the new recyclable and compostable kinds made from recycled materials.♻️ That being said, if you already have the paper that isn't recyclable or compostable, always first use what you have.

Natural wrapping

2.🎀 Skip the holiday ribbon altogether (or swap)

Skip the ribbon: most types of ribbon are a threat to both pets and wildlife, and persist for hundreds of years in the environment as a single-use plastic. Or, swap out with natural string materials like paper raffia, jute, burlap or cotton string. For a lovely focal point instead of a ribbon bow, try attaching a few sprigs of cedar, star anise or orange slices dried in the oven, next to the tag.

3. 🥗🍗 Minimize food waste

Besides not actually buying and cooking TOO much (sometimes hard to do, I know), your freezer is your best friend here. It's amazing how many things can actually be frozen. Things that go in the fridge...well, it's easy to get sick of eating leftovers for 4 days in a row! Be diligent of freezing leftovers right after the big holiday meal, before they spoil, reserving just what you will actually eat in the next few days for storage in the fridge.  Many hands make light work if you have a big celebration! (We literally ring a bell here and get all hands on deck with our family to make it as quick and painless as possible.😂) I like to group and freeze things together as meals in oven-safe trays, to pop in the oven for those lazy PJ nights in January. 😉 (Trust me, your future self will thank you!). If you don't have a freezer big enough, you can always pop a cooler on your balcony if it's cold enough outside. This works great if you live in an apartment or condo and don't have a large freezer. No balcony, or too warm outside? Consider sharing with your neighbours.
Freeze leftovers

4. 🛍🛍️ Bring your own shopping bags 

Don't forget to bring along your reusable shopping bags, instead of disposable ones, or buying new. Another tip is to bring a box from home with a pile of towels or dish cloths, for transporting fragile items, or glass. Lastly, storing them in your trunk is the way to not forget to bring them!

5.💡Lighten up the energy load on holiday lights

Consider switching your holiday lights to lower-energy LED ones, and put them on an automatic timer to reduce the amount of time they are on. While they may cost more upfront, they consume less energy and last longer, saving you money in the long run. Bonus? They are brighter than incandescent ones.

LED Christmas lights

6. ❄️ Use natural and plastic-free decorations

Use natural and compostable things like pinecones, holly, dried fruit, popcorn, cranberries, gingerbread garlands on a string, potted plants, paper chains, cedar clippings or tree boughs. Some of my VERY favourite memories are of Christmases where we made home-made decorations, like gingerbread cookie garlands hanging from string in the windows. 😍 We would ice them with a long-lasting icing made from lemon juice and icing sugar. (I'm not sure this would fly today with all we know NOW about germs lol, but I would gobble them up in the week after New Years. They were SO yummy.😋). Homemade decorations are simply, the BEST!

7. 🗑 ♻️ Make recycling easy for guests

Provide recycling bins at holiday gatherings to make recycling easier for guests. A lot of people just don't want to poke around your house to find them, so making them very accessible is key. 

8. 🍽 Use non-plastic dinnerware

For your meals and get-togethers: compostable is great, but reusable is better! We invested a grand total of about $10 in metal cutlery from the dollar store about 8 years ago, and we bring them out to use them every time we have a large gathering. 

9. 💦 Save water: lots of food/guests = lots of dishes

For those piles of holiday dishes, opt to use the dishwasher over handwashing in the sink when you can. Washing by hand uses uses up to 9 times more water per load than running the dishwasher (avg 27 litres, vs 3-4 litres on most dishwashers)! 

For those items you need to wash by hand though, skip the chemicals and try our eco-friendly dishwashing soap SQUEAK Concentrated Dish Wash 🍋. It's a great choice for tackling the worst of pots and pans better than traditional dishwashing liquids, is chemical-free, and septic and grey-waters safe. And BONUS: it works in most dishwashers, too. Cleaning dirty dishes doesn't need to kill the fishes! 💚🐠

💡 Don't forget to share these tips with friends and family to promote a more sustainable approach to Christmas and holiday celebrations! 😊

Here's to a low-waste Happy Holiday! 💚

Kirsten xo

How Wasteful are the Holidays? A breakdown: