The holidays are a time to gather with friends and loved ones, of giving thanks for making the best of every day and to beginning a new year with goals of greatness. Unfortunately, the holiday season also happens to be a time for gross amounts of excess waste. According to a Stanford University study, during the holiday season Americans waste an extra 1 million tons of garbage a week during the holiday months. 

It only takes a few conscious decisions during the holidays to make a really big difference on your global imprint. The Stanford study revealed that by reusing even just two feet of ribbon, we could save 38,000 miles of ribbon. That’s enough to tie a bow around the entire planet!

This holiday season we implore you to think outside the box with some of your holiday traditions. Here are a few ideas we love, that can help reduce the unnecessary waste. 

Get creative with your wrapping paper. Traditional paper is generally used once and then tossed immediately after. We suggest upcycling your newspapers, magazines, or textiles. You can avoid paper all together by giving your gifts in reusable tote bags. If you start planning ahead you can carefully unwrap gifts and save the paper for use again next year. At the very least when paper is necessary please shop for ones that are made from recycled or FSC certified paper. 

Do your gift shopping with purpose. Giving gifts is such a rewarding experience, so imagine how much more rewarding it will feel if the gifts you give also serve a bigger purpose. Purchasing with purpose is also voting with your dollar. You can shop B Corp businesses, which meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Many B Corp certified businesses give back to their local communities and work with nonprofits that serve a wide range of social and environmental justice issues. Learn more about B Corp standards and which brands to shop by clicking here. You can also give homemade gifts, or gifts that create little to zero waste: like plants, annual state park passes, or movie tickets. For truly unique gifts, shop vintage items and reuse what is already in circulation. 

A few other quick waste reducing tips:

  • Make your own holiday cards out of recycled paper, send e-greeting cards, or buy cards made from FSC certified paper
  • Ship gifts as little as possible, instead opt for ones that can be claimed electronically 
  • Cook your holiday feasts according to the amount of people coming
  • Carpool when visiting family 
  • Don’t let your holiday lights run all night
  • Recycle any waste you do create 
  • Buy a Christmas Tree that is FSC certified or one that is alive and can be replanted after use

We hope this holiday you get inspired to cut back your waste imprint, even if its just by a little. Little changes over time, become big changes, and add up to the bigger picture of global, environmental, and economical success. 


Image source & more ideas on how to wrap your gifts without wrapping paper: