4 Tips to be more sustainable during the holiday season

The winter holiday season is here with people gearing up to celebrate traditions with family across the globe. Keep sustainability in mind this holiday season by following these helpful tips!

  • Shop local for gifts (or buy less!)

Remember the slogan “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”? Always try to start with the first “R,” reduce, in your sustainability journey. Consumerism and materialism are a serious issues, especially in American society, so take the time to think before buying a gift. Does this person really need this pair of novelty socks? Or this knick-knack? Sometimes meaningful gifts can come in the form of experiences instead, such as coupons for seeing a movie or going on a hike together.

When purchasing gifts, try and shop at small and local businesses who would really appreciate your support more than massive brands such as Amazon or Target. Not only will your gift likely be more unique, but you will be supporting people in your own community.

  • Buy in season produce and reduce meat consumption

In season produce is often grown locally, meaning there are less transportation emissions. In Rochester, you can head over to the Public Market for produce from the many vendors. Additionally, reducing your meat consumption is always a great way to reduce carbon emissions.

  • Use natural candles

Many mass produced candles are made from paraffin wax, which comes from petroleum, a by-product of making gasoline. There are some concerns about paraffin candles releasing toxic chemicals when burned, but it is not clear if they have an impact on human health. Non-petroleum based natural candles include those made from beeswax, soy wax, and coconut wax. 

  • Reuse gift wrapping

Keep in mind that not all wrapping paper is recyclable. Any wrapping paper with metallic elements, glitter, or velvet is not recyclable, so check before you throw it all in your recycling bin! A little bit of tape is ok, so don’t worry about carefully removing all of it. Bows are not recyclable at all but can be easily reused at following events if taken care of. Ribbons are a huge problem in recycling centers because they can clog up part of the sorting machines and cause the whole plant to be shut down to fix the problem. One great option is using gift bags, which are very easily reused and can often be recycled at a later time.

Let us know in the comments which of these tips you’ll try out or if you have any new ones you’d like to add!


Written by Sarah Woodams ‘24(T5)

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

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