Five ways to reduce waste this holiday season

I love this time of year! The holiday lights, the beautifully decorated trees, all the yummy baked treats and dinners with friends & family! But my favorite part is probably shopping for others – but in today’s society, it can be hard to embrace the beauty of the season & practice slow gifting because it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle & bustle going on around us.

And we all know that the holiday season also masks one of America’s most wasteful season, with bags & bags of discarded wrapping paper & piles of cardboard boxes – not to mention all the plastic sacks from shopping, gas used to drive to a million different stores, and so on. So I wanted to share some of my eco life habits to help others have a more earth friendly & meaningful holiday season!

1. Use reusable shopping totes. 

The average American takes home about 1,500 plastic bags a year. Americans use and dispose of 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year and at least 12 million barrels of oil are used per year in the manufacture of those plastic grocery bags. Plastic bags also take over 1,000 years to break down. So, um, ugh. That’s disgusting, right? So let’s change those habits this holiday season & always by using reusable shopping bags! Plus, they hold more, meaning fewer bags to carry. Another bonus, you can get super cute reusable bags, like these from Hello Totes! (Plus, these make EXCELLENT gifts for others, so why not give a gift that keeps on giving back to the Earth?)

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2. Carpool.

Seriously, squeeze in some extra time with your ma, sister, husband or best friend & tackle your holiday shopping lists together! Make a list of everywhere you want to go, optimize your route & make a day of it rather than making three dozen different holiday shopping trips. Embrace the beauty of this season by planning to hit up several local boutiques & grabbing lunch at your favorite restaurant with a loved one, which is a gift itself! Plus, all that money you aren’t spending on gas you can use to buy more Mon-stors gifts. 😉

3. Don’t buy boxes. 

I wrote this tutorial for reusing cereal boxes for packaging. You just flip the box inside out and viola, you have a clothing sized box! Just slip the gift inside. Bonus, you can ditch the wrapping paper and just tie a pretty bow on the box or decorate it with markers for a super personal touch!

4. Shop local.

When you order gifts online there is excess packaging, not to mention the jet or freight fuel used to deliver the products. If possible buy gifts locally – as a bonus you skip the shipping cost & like tip 2 you can use shopping as an excuse to squeeze in more time with loved ones! Make sure to check out your local boutiques, craft shows & independent businesses first this year for thoughtful, meaningful, heartfelt gifts that will be cherished for years while supporting your local makers.

5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Reduce waste this holiday season by not adding extra packaging to gifts – bows, twine, ribbon – because it all just ends up in a landfill unless you are like me and dive across the room to save every little bit you can reuse next year. Reuse any wrapping paper, bows, ribbon, twine, boxes, etc that you can each year, and when you can’t, recycle everything you possibly can – cardboard, plastic bags & containers. Plus, using tip 3 you can greatly reduce your wrapping paper waste by just using the timeless look of a gift box.

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Have you finished holiday shopping for the year, or are you just beginning? Do you try to practice slow gifting (buying thoughtful, meaningful gifts rather than the latest thing)? Do you often reuse packaging or shop purposefully to reduce the waste you produce? Let’s chat in the comments! 

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