Every holiday season, it’s commonplace that many of us feel the looming pressure to produce something new and exciting for the people on our shopping list. But something new doesn’t have to come at the expense of our planet, or our budget for that matter.
Glitzy papers dazzled with Christmas icons and prints are pleasing to the eye, but often end up serving only one purpose before making their way into recycling—that is, if they can be recycled. Paper manufacturing is a carbon-intensive industry producing 22% of U.S. greenhouse emissions. Some of the most pleasing decorative papers have embellishments with glitter, laminate, metallics, or texture; however, any paper containing these elements is considered recycling contamination.
The holiday season can be full of waste. On average, we produce about 25% more waste during the month of December than any other time of year. We want to know that our consideration for others is appreciated through gifts, but few consider that the gift itself and the material we wrap it in have their own environmental consequences. What’s more, a recent survey found that Americans waste around $16 million dollars on unwanted gifts each Christmas season.
When buying for loved ones, try cultivating gifts that can be continually used, have a long product life, or can be responsibly disposed of. Mark this December as a season of change to ditch the glitzy land-fill waste and try a new way of giving.
Here are six suggestions to help both the planet and your wallet this holiday season: