LOW WASTE

10 tips for having more sustainable holidays

I love winter and I love my cozy living room right now. As I´m writing this fireplace is burning in the background and I´m snuggled under my blanket with a cup of tea. And by the way, it´s all white outside too!

But like everything else I like to keep my holidays as environmentally friendly as possible. Here are some quick tips how you can do the same.

1. Use a reusable bag for Christmas shopping

Pick up a cotton bag or a basket from your home. If it has to be a plastic bag, make sure you reuse it as often as possible.

2. Buy eco, sustainable gifts

Buy gifts at the local Christmass market, local shops, eco-fashion brands, sustainable materials or some greenery aka plants. I got one last year and I loved it. If you don´t know what to buy for your family & friends it´s always better to buy them gift cards than grabbing a random gift.  If you are getting a gift for somebody like me she/he would probably appreciate if you donate money to charity in their name. :)

3. Pack with recycled wrapping paper

Many types of wrapping paper are plastic coated. Get creative and reuse some old paper, newspaper, recycled paper or textile. Wrap it with some rope, hand write a name and add some decorations. Now tell me that this doesn´t look amazing?159c4b882b36fcd2762a5e52a3225f19 

4. Obtain an organic Christmas tree

We are lucky that we can get pesticides and herbicides-free Christmas trees in Austria, but in my opinion it´s still too sad to have dying-drying tree in the room. So get potted happy one if you can (doesn’t need to be a typical Christmas tree) that can end up in your garden. The most ecological option, however, would be to ask yourself whether you need a tree at all. I just decorate every other plant and wall that I can. There are a lot of great alternatives on Pinterest, so get creative.

Last year I found my “Christmass” tree on 26th because that´s when people already start throwing them out. It was perfect and happily survived till spring :)

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5. Buy candles without palm oil

The production conditions of palm oil have catastrophic consequences on our environment. The wax of conventional candles usually consists of paraffin, a gas by product that comes in the form of a wax or a liquid, derived from the petroleum refining process. Please also pay attention to the good quality of the candles. This is advisable for health reasons. When burning the candles, pollutants can be released into the air. Soya, beeswax or natural vegetable-based candles are better because they are fisrt biodegradable, smoke-free, and are eco-friendly.

6. Light with LED lights

If you haven’t done this already it’s time to get some LEDs. They use a lot less energy and last a lot longer. If you want to use your old lights – you can simply restrict their use by switching them off whenever you are not home or near the lights. Best thing I bought are solar-powered lights.

7. Use reusable bottles

Before the holidays drinks are often bought in big amounts for all our parties.  You can simply use fruit syrup or tea, but if you want mixed drinks or sodas, it´s recommended to use reusable bottles. Disposable plastic is used in for few hours or minutes, but it takes over 450 years to rot.

8. Season’s Greenings

It’s traditional to send cards wishing people a happy holidays, but this usually means a lot of bleached paper, toxic ink and waste. Use cards printed on recycled paper with natural inks or make your own.
But best would be to send an ecard (try to find charity ecards) instead or pick up the phone for a change. :)

9. Save energy 

Buy yourself and your family some warm pajamas, blankets or bedding as a gift. Wear that terribly fashionable knitted jumper that your aunt gave you and turn the thermostat down a notch. Go to sleep with a heating turned way down or off at night. Something to do this winter is also to research and organize a switch to a green energy provider for your home.

10. Eat less or no meat and buy locally produced food

If you’re cooking for the holidays – consider the carbon footprint of your food.
Buy produce from your nearest farm shop or farmers’ market. Increase the vegetable options on the table while serving less meat that’s organic and locally sourced. Animals, environment and I, would highly appreciate if you try going vegan during holidays. Need ideas? Just check this amazing vegan holiday recipes

Thank you and have a green white holidays!

Mateja

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Photos: Pinterest

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