A Jolly Eco-friendly Holiday

A Jolly Eco-friendly Holiday

The holiday season tends to be filled with lots of wonderful people, delicious treats, colorful décor, bright lights… and unnecessary trash. Everything, from food to ornaments, come enclosed in packaging that end up in the landfills (or, even the ocean). From Thanksgiving to New Years, Americans generate 25% more trash compared to the rest of the year (1).

Statistics & Science
Excessive garbage has a bigger impact on our planet than many people realize. On average, each person throws away about 5 pounds of trash every day! In 2018, 292.4 million tons of garbage entered the municipal solid waste system in the United States (2). Landfills are the third largest human source of methane, which is a major greenhouse gas contributing to global climate change (3). This doesn’t even include the trash that ends up in other places, such as the Great Pacific garbage patch – a floating trash island almost twice the size of Texas (4). Garbage, whether in land or sea, hurts us and our planet.

Choosing Change
As you can see, we’ve got quite a garbage situation. But there are small changes we can make to help reduce our trash pile. It all starts with consciously choosing change. This holiday season, let’s choose to create a few new Earth-friendly traditions. Don’t worry about making a complete lifestyle overhaul (unless you want to, then go for it!), just focus on what changes you can easily make today.

Here are a few ideas to help us all have a more eco-conscious holiday…

Decorate naturally. Leave that plastic Santa alone (unless it’s a family heirloom) and make your own decorations. Think wood, fabric, paper, and dried fruits / veggies. Remember the traditional popcorn and cranberry strands? After the holidays you can hang these strands outside to feed winter birds. If you truly have the shopping bug, check out vintage décor from thrift stores or support local artisans (I love holiday craft fairs).

Skip single-use products. Forget plastic utensils and styrofoam plates. Instead, pull out the good silverware and glass cups. Serve beverages with stainless steel straws. Pack leftovers in reusable containers rather than zip-lock bags. Even aluminum foil is a better option since it’s recyclable in municipal bins. Opt out of paper towels and reach for cloth napkins. Send leftovers home with people in reusable cloth bags.

Nourish the Earth. Don’t dump those scraps in the garbage, compost them instead. If you don’t have a municipal bin or a personal compost system, you can layer food waste right on the ground in your flowerbeds and let nature do it’s thing over the winter. And don’t send ye ole Christmas tree to the dump either. It composts just as well as those leftovers. You can even reduce waste from the start by making reasonably sized meals with less to be leftover.

Be thoughtful about gifts. Rather than giving out a bunch of negligible commercial items or short-lived products, share more meaning with others. Consider making handmade gifts and homemade goodies. Give the gift of an experience, such as tickets to an event or a class. Donate to someone’s favorite charity. Help someone in need clean their home or watch their kids. Pass along vintage or heirloom items to family members. And, support small artists and local shops for special finds.

Get wise when it comes to packaging. If you can, choose products with minimal or Earth-friendly packaging. Say "no thanks" to store bags and bring your own tote. When shipping, reuse materials from packages you previously received or choose materials like paper over styrofoam. Complete the eco-packaging circle and skip the brand new shiny wrapping paper. Go with more creative options – decorate paper grocery bags or shipping boxes, repurpose used fabric for wrapping paper, or reuse gift bags from last year. If you’re gifting jewelry, try a colorful fabric pouch or kraft jewelry box with cotton padding.

For unique and personalized jewelry gifts, check out VANDA inspired’s selection handcrafted in my California studio: Shop Here

I hope you and your family have a beautiful and healthy holiday season – no matter what you celebrate!
Wanda @ VANDA inspired



(1) Stanford University: Holiday Waste Prevention

(2) US Environmental Protection Agency: Facts & Figures on Materials, Wastes, and Recycling

(3) US Environmental Protection Agency: Basic Information About Landfill Gas

(4) The Ocean Cleanup

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