Who doesn’t love the holiday season? There’s eggnog, parties, family, friends, food, fun and gifts. It’s spectacular! But in all honesty this festive and most wonderful time of the year is also the most wasteful. Have you ever wondered where all of our holiday trash ends up after the festivities, and how that impacts “joy to the world”?
Ho! Ho! Hold Up…..
We usually spare no expense for the holidays. And the National Retail Federation has the proof.
Last year Americans spent over $780 billion dollars during the holiday season. That included everything from gifts and travel to food and decorations. All of which contribute greatly to our carbon footprint. During the holidays we generate about 25% more waste than any other time of year according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). That’s an extra 25 million tons of garbage. Break that down on a weekly basis, and you’re looking at about 1 million tons per week. And where does all of this waste go? You guessed it, the landfills.
Landfills aren’t these magical places where trash and waste go to live out the rest of their years. Well they kind of are but they aren’t magical that’s for sure. When holiday waste is discarded into landfills, they begin to break down into a toxic mixture of greenhouse gases that produce methane and carbon dioxide. These gases are super harmful and cause the planet to heat up which contributes to climate change.
Holiday Waste! BAAAH HUMBUG
But to be honest, disposing of holiday waste can make you a bit of a “scrooge”. Mainly because most of the left over material isn’t exactly recyclable. Take holiday decorations for example. Christmas tree lights, although made of plastic material, can’t be recycled in your curbside bin. They can get tangled up and cause recycling plants to have to stop everything just to deal with the issue. Elf on the shelf? Forget about it. Unless he’s made of paper, that guy can’t be recycled. Repurposed as a dog toy maybe but definitely not recycled. Even some wrapping paper and holiday cards are questionable. Many of them may have shiny surfaces, foil or plastic pieces attached. It’s safe to say that most items we decorate our tree or homes with can’t be recycled in our blue bins and this adds to the waste issue. So what can we do?
Joy To The World!
There are many things we can do to prevent waste and celebrate with style and grace. We can make the holidays fun and green for our family and friends while protecting our most precious gift of all, the planet.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
When having intimate socials use your plates, glasses and cutlery. Wash them and reuse them again. Having a large get together? Consider using compostable plates, cups and cutlery from EarthHero and place a compost and recycling bin near the trash can for discarded food and recyclable items. Want 15% off your EarthHero purchase for the festivities, just log in to your EnviroPerks account.
Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Treeeeeeeeeeee…
Charlie Brown’s lil tree wasn’t the best. But what it may have lacked in luster it surely made up for in love. And you can show the environment some love too by choosing a live tree this year! It takes about 7-10 years to grow a Christmas tree and during that time, it provides a habitat for small creatures and oxygen for us. Live Christmas trees are biodegradable and way easier than artificial trees to dispose of too. You can toss those babies right in a wood chipper after the holidays and use it for mulch. Also, they make your house smell really good. Sorry, we just like that Snow White enchanted forest kind of thing you know.
Give Green Gifts
On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to meeeeee, rechargeable batteries. Who can forget the best part of the holidays. The giving! Gifts are a major theme of the holidays but it can be done green as well.
> Try making gifts for family and friends this year! Homemade cookies in a reusable tin box are thoughtful and considerate. Or think outside the box.
> Pay for one month of all of their subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+.
> Purchase virtual gift cards to their favorite stores.
> Or better yet, give your loved ones experiences! Purchase concert or movie tickets online for them or treat them to a fancy restaurant or place they’ve always wanted to go.
Any of these options show that you care for them and the planet too. If you must purchase a gift however, look for gifts that are eco-friendly and wrap them in old newspaper, magazines, t-shirts or beautiful second hand cloth and ribbon. This will definitely make your gift stand out among the rest and be stamped with the green stamp of approval. From EnviroPerks of course. Tee Hee.
Wishing You A Happy Holiday
However you choose to celebrate this year, remember to be thankful and thoughtful in your living and your giving. The most precious gift on this planet is you, but there can be no you, if there is no planet. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa. From us and ours to you and yours, Happy Holidays.