Six tips for a more sustainable holiday season courtesy of Menlo Spark

by Diane Bailey on November 17, 2019

Between Thanksgiving and the new year, Americans throw away 25% more trash. The season, fraught with over-indulgence and consumerism, can be made made more sustainable — and potentially less stressful. Here are seven tips to have a more eco-friendly holiday season.

-Reuse odds and ends for more environmentally friendly wrapping paper

There are many ways to wrap your gifts with more eco-friendly options. Through the year, save odds and ends like tissue paper, ribbons and boxes. Use old newspapers and maps to wrap your gifts, or invest in gift bags you reuse many times. Or forgo gifts, and give experiences instead!

-Go green with you holiday cards

Holiday cards are a great way to send season greetings to close family, but they often get thrown out after the holiday season. Think about using an e-card instead, or even sending text messages.

-Planning a party? Use reusable dishes to go zero waste

Substitute those single use plastic dishes for reusable ones Some cities, like Palo Alto, have Party Pack programs for people to borrow extra reusable dishes. Or, use what you have at home, or ask guests to bring their own. If you must go single use, use more eco-friendly alternatives like compostable bamboo utensils.

-Plan your vacation to a more sustainable location

Research vacation destinations with commitments to sustainability like energy efficiency, grey water recycling programs and biodegradable materials. If you are flying long distances, look into carbon offset programs.

-Use LED lights

LED lights use 1/10 the amount of electricity than normal holiday lights, while still looking great! They last longer, meaning more time between purchase and recycling.

-Reduce food waste

On average, Americans waste 5 million more pounds of food between Thanksgiving and the new year. Help reduce this by careful meal planning, eating leftovers, or donating extra food to your local homeless shelter. Skip the fruitcake entirely!

Diane Bailey is Executive Director of Menlo Spark, an independent nonprofit working to help Menlo Park become climate neutral by 2025,

One Comment

Cm November 17, 2019 at 5:14 pm

Great suggestions – thank you. If I need just a few extra wine glasses for a party I pick some up inexpensively at a local thrift store and then donate back afterwards. An added benefit is that the mismatches make it easy to keep track of your glass.

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