Contributing Gear Editor

Make sustainable and eco-friendly choices this holiday season. Photo: Jonathan Kemnitz

The Inertia

The holidays are a wonderful, albeit wasteful, time of year. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day accounting for an extra 25 million tons of garbage. Although some waste is unavoidable, it is possible to make sustainable and more eco-friendly choices during the holidays to help lessen your footprint. Here are five simple ways you can be more eco-friendly this holiday season.

Wrap Wisely

Wrapping paper accounts for a lot of waste during the holidays and despite popular opinion, the majority of it is not recyclable. A good alternative is making your own wrapping paper from things like brown paper bags, construction paper, old newspapers, old maps, a scarf, bandana or anything else you can think of! If you do use wrapping paper, try opening it slowly and carefully like your grandma and save it for next year.

Use LED Lights

Holiday lights are beautiful, but they use a lot of excess energy. LED lights use 80 percent less energy than traditional holiday lights, making them a much more eco-friendly option. They’re also much cooler than traditional lights so they minimize the risk of fire. Plus, they’ll save you a lot of money on your energy bill making them an all-around solid option.

Add Local or Organic Foods to the Menu

Not only does local and organic food typically taste better, but it’s a much better option for the environment as well. Buy the ingredients for your holiday feast from a local farmer or food producer and opt for sustainably raised meat and organic fruits and veggies. Your guests will likely be raving about how delicious your food is. The fact that it’s more eco-friendly? Well that’s just the icing on the cake.

Display a Live Christmas Tree

Going for an artificial or a live Christmas tree has been a long-running debate among environmentalists but studies have shown that a live tree is the more eco-friendly option. As they grow, live trees remove carbon from the environment, protect soil, regulate floods and drought, and provide habitat for wildlife. Look for an organic tree farm to ensure your tree was grown without being sprayed with pesticides or opt for a potted, native tree if possible.

Make Homemade Gifts

When you purchase a gift, it’s typically wrapped in a lot of excess packaging and unfortunately, gifts oftentimes go unused by the receiver. This year, try making homemade gifts such as homemade ornaments, cookies, homemade soap, homemade candles, or anything else you can think of. If you’re not crafty, consider purchasing something from a secondhand store to give it new life.


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