‘TIS THE SEASON FOR SUSTAINABILITY
The holiday season is here. It’s a time to rejoice and celebrate. It’s a time for peace on earth, charity, and goodwill towards your fellow humans. It’s a time for… so much garbage. That’s right, the holiday season isn’t just the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also the most wasteful. Standing up for the planet doesn’t stop when the festive lights go up. So let’s tweak some of our holiday traditions and create new ones that have a greener future for all and a sustainable holiday season in mind.
Here are our top tips to help you have a more sustainable holiday season:
Use eco-friendly gift wrap
Did you know that waste volume goes up by 25% in Canada between November and New Year’s Eve? Each Canadian tosses about 50 kgs of garbage over the holidays. If every Canadian wrapped just three gifts in reused materials this year, Greenpeace estimates that it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks. Glittery and metallic wrapping papers aren’t recyclable which means they head straight to the landfill. Opt for using newspaper, vintage paper, brown craft paper, maps, or wrapping with fabric instead to create a cute and eco-friendly alternative.
Decorate with care
LED lights take 80% less energy which helps save the planet and your hydro bill. They also last 10x longer than incandescent bulbs. Is it more eco-friendly to have a real tree or an artificial one? The city of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division created this handy diagram to help you make the right tree choice for your home.
Natural trees have a lower carbon footprint in their production and transport. They improve air quality, create a habitat for wildlife, support the ecosystem, and strengthen the local economy. They are compostable too, as long as they are free of ornaments, plastic wrap, and other decorations. Artificial trees make less of an impact on climate change, as long as they are kept over 8 years. They use plastic and have to travel a greater distance so they have a bigger impact on the environment. If you do opt for an artificial tree, make sure it is made from recycled materials and PVC-free. Instead of sending your old artificial tree to the landfill, consider donating it to lessen your eco-footprint.
Planning a holiday get together? Incorporate some local, organic, and plant-based nibbles into your festive dinner spread to lessen your environmental impact. Go zero waste by using real dishes or recyclable plates and cutlery instead of waste-bin disposables. Try stovetop potpourri instead of a toxic air freshener (recommended by Environmental Defence Canada) to get your house smelling delicious. Simmer cinnamon and cloves, with vanilla, oranges, or cranberries in a pot on your stove and your home will smell like a winter wonderland in no time.
If we all do our small part, we can have a big collective impact this holiday season which means a greener world for us all. Have eco-friendly holiday tips of your own to share? Send us a note or comment below.