’Tis the season to be excessive. Collectively, Americans purchase 2.6 billion holiday cards, seal presents with 38,000 miles of ribbon, and roast 68 million turkeys. Once we’re finished shopping, decorating, unwrapping, and eating, we’ll each add 25 percent more waste, on average, to our local landfill over the holidays. Why not try something different this year? Let’s celebrate the holiday season mindfully without costing the environment—and our wallets—an arm and a leg.
Deck the halls
Forgo chemical-laden plastic decorations, tinsel, and spray-on snow in an aerosol can. Instead, reuse and recycle materials you have on hand to make nontoxic decorations with wood, felt, wool, and ceramics.
Light the tree
It’s worth switching to LED (light-emitting diode) lights. They use 90 percent less energy than traditional Christmas lights, are more durable, and last 10 times longer. Old tree lights can be donated to a local thrift store or taken to a recycling facility. Lighting retailers sometimes offer light exchange programs.
Compost a tree
Take live Christmas trees to be mulched, chipped, or composted. Fees are often by donation and may support local charities.
Grow a tree
Consider purchasing a live potted Christmas tree. A small tree may be used indoors for several years and then planted in your yard or another location where it will absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. One tree can store 13 lbs of carbon a year.
Prepare the meal
This year, a little planning can help you reduce your household waste.
• Plan your holiday menu carefully; don’t buy extra food you might not need.
• Think ahead and plan how you’ll use leftovers.
• Give guests leftovers to take home or give care packages to neighbors.
• Compost food waste, such as turkey bones, vegetable peelings, etc.
• Use cloth tablecloths and napkins, china plates, glasses, and cutlery; avoid paper and plastic items.
The holidays can be a hazardous time for the environment. Thankfully, with some small conscious choices, we can make long-lasting changes.
Consider something as simple as giving gifts that are meaningful; a charitable donation or an experience such as yoga classes or tickets to a comedy show are great ideas!
Want more help to jump-start your practice? Join us for our final 12 Months of Wellness Challenge (<alive.com/wellnesschallenge/>). Our December challenge is all about reducing your holiday waste. You’ll find plenty of support within our community of like-minded wellness enthusiasts!