We partnered with Danielle from @conciousfolk.co to give you some tips on how to be more eco friendly this holiday season. The holidays are a time of giving, spending time with family and eating of course however, so much waste is produced during this time and we wanted to give you some easy ideas on how you can reduce your waste this holiday season.
Danielle has created 9 tips that are simple swamps, tips and tricks. Scroll below to get into the eco holiday spirit.
1. Gift Ideas
Think outside the box (literally), instead of leaving wrapped boxes of gifts under the tree, be creative. How can you gift someone an experience? I love giving gifts like concert tickets, show tickets, I’ve even gifted my Dad a helicopter ride and a skydiving pass.. your initial thought might be that these gifts are pricier, but that isn’t always the case.. I’ve given yoga class passes, taken people out for dinner or reimbursed a trip to the spa. These gifts are often “priceless” because essentially you’re gifting memories or the experience for someone you love to treat themselves in a way they may not normally.. some of the best gifts aren’t physical things, it’s an alternative to buying more “stuff”. That being said, sometimes we will be asked what we want for Christmas, this is an opportunity to answer things like; quality time, a donation on my behalf to a local shelter, a nice dinner just the two of us..
2. Gift wrapping
I have a few eco friendly wrapping suggestions if you go the route of buying tangible gifts (which can also still be very eco friendly with a bit of thought) Consider that not all gifts need to be wrapped. For example, I like to find a nice second hand basket or container of sorts that doesn’t need to be wrapped and doesn’t create more waste.. consider filling your basket with low waste gifts such as unwrapped soaps, natural soy or beeswax candles, a jar or your fav cookie ingredients that can easily be mixed and baked for a delicious treat, bring a cute jar to a tea shop and refill on some of your favourite loose leaf tea.. and add an nice stainless steel infuser to the mix, make an easy homemade salad dressing in a mason jar, a homemade body scrub, etc. these thoughtful gifts in combination look gorgeous together. If you are looking for a more sustainable wrapping, newspaper, or plain brown paper wrapped in hemp string also look awesome. Another idea is to gift things like beeswax wraps, steel straws, shampoo bars and bamboo toothbrushes to inspire others to think twice. Consider also where your items are coming from, if you want to buy clothes, toys, etc., can you find items that are North American made? Can you confirm that they are ethically manufactured and workers are being paid fair wages? There are also loads of companies that donate profits to environmental and humanitarian organizations. A cool example is Conscious Steps, buy some cool socks, and proceeds will be donated to an assortment of charities of your choosing.
When it comes to actually purchasing gifts, buy local, buy handmade gifts, buy fair trade. When you buy in shop, oftentimes you can get your items package free. When you shop online consider how long it takes to get to you and all the transportation emissions that were created in order to deliver that gift if it is being delivered from across the country or across the globe. Maybe you can walk to your local stores or drive there in just a few minutes. Consider all the excess packaging and plastic that was used during shipping instead of if you bought that same gift in store.
Think organic, & homemade. I’ve been dehydrating fruit and stringing it to decorate doorways, or hanging on my tree. Another fun idea is stringing popcorn (you might think old-school but this is a cute and classic alternative to tinsel or plastic beads). Make yourself some salt dough * (many easy recipes online and I can provide one for the blog if you need) with the salt dough you can make Christmas shaped ornaments that get baked and a fun tip is you can add a bit of essential oil to them and they act as hanging diffusers! If you don’t want to get so crafty, hit up the thrift shops, people constantly get rid of stockings and other decorations and you can find some great quality stuff secondhand online or in shop! Re-use, think twice and get crafty!
5. Dinner Parties
As a guest, you can consider making a homemade meal to bring to party and going plastic free with your ingredients (think markets, bulk, glass jars and aluminum cans), you can bring a nice bottle of wine with a cork and not a plastic lid! You might even want to consider tossing a set of utentils, and a reusable cup into your bag in case the host wants to make things easy and uses plastic cutlery or cups.. (tip: bring an extra bag to put your dirty things into and you can wash at home!)
6. For a host
If you’re cooking you can easily use your own oven trays to eliminate waste, just means more washing.. you can politely ask that if your guests avoid using plastic wrap and instead use aluminum trays and foil because they are easily recycled and you can take care of the proper disposal after they leave! Another tip is if you’re having multiple people over and are tempted to use plastic plates, cups, and utensils, a cheap and greener idea is to hit the thrift store and buy a bunch of plates etc. at a low cost that you can keep for multiple guests or re-donate after the holidays. Also, using the dishwasher if you have multiple dishes can actually save you water. Plus, be open with your guests about how you went about buying your plastic free groceries to make that awesome dish and set an example that greener doesn’t need to mean inconvenient!
7. Dish Out the Leftovers
Sending friends/ family home with leftovers or composting equals no food waste! Food waste in the landfill does not get enough O2 and instead releases methane gases into the atmosphere which is an extremely potent greenhouse gas.Encourage your guests to bring containers to pack up leftovers and enjoy for lunch the next day.
If you are going to a family function, dinner party, or to the mall to shop, take the same car if you can’t walk or take public transport.
Avoid sparkles! I myself have acquired some decor covered in sparkles and I choose to keep it in good condition so that I can avoid it ending up in landfill, waterways etc. But sparkles are micro plastics. Micro plastics are the most common types of marine debris found in the ocean and Great Lakes. These micro plastics harm aquatic environments and animals and eventually end up back in our food chain.
9. Be mindful
An eco-savvy lifestyle is really about connecting with nature, yourself and the people who love you. Don’t let the overwhelm and capitalism that the holidays can spark get the best of you! Head to a yoga class, meditate, let it go if you received a gift that doesn’t align with your values, likely it was given with the best of intentions, don’t beat yourself up if you forgot your utensils, don’t obsess about the money you did or didn’t spend. Bundle up and go for a walk outside, walk around your neighbourhood and admire the lights, tell people you love them, these are the real reasons behind wanting to live a life of connectedness with our environment!
Meet Danielle Lauzon
I’m Danielle, the creator of Conscious Folk Collective. As a kid I remember my Dad encouraging my friends and I to pick up trash in the forrest around our house for a couple dollars each. When we filled an entire bag, we could come back. There was nothing else about our lifestyle that was radically eco friendly, but I do believe that this simple act instilled respect for nature within me. There were many garbage cleanups, and I found this fun and rewarding. Fast forward to a few years ago and I developed a love for travel, sometimes even travelling on my own. Living in a beach town, I was exposed to a deeper level of connection with the beauty around us, and with the ocean. I’d met other people who had made radical stances against climate change and plastic pollution. I’d never before considered beginning a journey towards abstaining from plastics altogether, but I’d seen that it was possible, and that it was necessary. I began to learn, to listen, to take notice. I was no longer blissfully ignorant to the waves of impact that my actions created. I realized that every negative action against the planet would continue to ripple waves of influence and I decided to begin choosing to create positive action. I have been working as a nurse and yoga teacher for the past couple years, and living in Windsor since moving back home. I see that some corners of our earth are more or less progressive than others. Slowly, but surely I am working to change my lifestyle from the inside-out. I believe that I care enough about people and our planet, that I need to be sharing with others, so that I can teach about what I’ve been taught by this amazing community of eco-savvy, plastic-free folk, trying to project sustenance, connectivity and love.