Every year Americans throw away an extra 25% of trash during the period from Thanksgiving to New Years than any other time in the year. With three days left until Christmas and a week until the New Year, if you haven’t thought about your environmental impact before, now is the time to start. It isn’t too late to reduce the amount of waste you make during the holiday season, as well as continue reducing your waste during the rest of the New Year.
1.) Reduce and Refuse
Boxing day sales are tempting and so is the excitement of buying a new outfit to wear out for a few hours at a New Years party. Let this be the year that you re-wear a dress in your closet that you’ve only worn a handful of times, pick something up at the thrift store, or borrow something from a friend. Fast fashion has a high cost on the environment and laborers, while clothing sales sound like a “good deal”, often times the clothing is such a cheap quality that it gives out after a few washes and wears.
Mercedes Cortes, a 56-year-old garment worker, earned $4.66 an hour sewing Fashion Nova tops.
— Natalie Kitroeff (@Nataliekitro) December 16, 2019
Obviously, buying ethical clothes isn’t budget friendly or accessible for everyone, but there are a few things that you can do.
1.) Only buy what you need from fast fashion stores, ask yourself ” How many outfits can I make from this piece, will it be valuable to my wardrobe?” Reducing the amount of clothing you purchase is probably the best thing you can do in a situation when you don’t have a large budget or you don’t have thrift stores in your area.
2.) Buy second hand, this is one of the best options. Not only will this save you money, but you will find one of a kind pieces. You can buy second hand at thrift stores, or online on Depop and ThredUp.
3.) Buy local when you can, supporting local designers and shops can have valuable impacts on your community. Plus, the pieces they create are unique and ethically made.
Beyond fashion, reducing the amount of stuff that you buy/own is the most environmentally friendly act you can do. Buying music online, or utilizing public libraries for books instead of collecting hoards of physical collections can save you money and space in your home.
This year I reused some old Sephora bags for Christmas gift bags. A majority of Christmas wrapping paper, especially those with a metallic finish, aren’t recyclable.
Alternatives to wrapping paper are fabric bags that can be reused, plain recyclable paper and reused bags.
I am not buying new Christmas wrappers this year, instead I will use the brochures that I got from my trips abroad. Its pretty cute and economical 😁. I dunno if it is eco friendly coz the receiver may throw the paper away after but I hope they keep it or recycle🤞@BTS_twt pic.twitter.com/pJAlUdwQjA
— A BEE 🌸 🐝🌸 (@askydoodles) December 21, 2019
We are celebrating the Icelandic tradition of “Jolabokflod” or “Book Flood” Christmas Eve, where you exchange books & read by the fire. This year we’ve made Book Flood fabric book bags which can be reused every year. So easy & eco-friendly. Simple drawstring design with twine. pic.twitter.com/9YU4qBHxVz
— Elle Wild (@ElleWild_writer) December 22, 2019
Beyond Christmas, anything can be reused if you put your mind to it. Instead of throwing out torn clothes, repair them or turn them into cloths or cloth makeup removing pads. You can reuse things like glass jars into organizers and decorations.
Here is a glass candle jar I reused to hold my reusable face pads.
3.) Ditch the Disposables
We all know about reusable water bottles and bags, but what about taking it a step further?
This year, one of the best switches I made was having a dry-erase calendar on my wall and digital day planners on my devices. I found that buying a disposable paper day planner every year was expensive and ended up not being used very much. Moving my day planners on to my devices has allowed me to be more organized and not have to hassle of forgetting my day planner and not using it.
Other simple, but effective switches you can make before the New Year are:
1.) Using bar soap instead of plastic dispense soap.
2.) Reusable period products such as menstrual cups.
3.) Using a micro-fibre face cloth or reusable face pads instead of cotton makeup pads.
4.) Refuse over consuming fast food or disposable coffee cups from shops, especially if their products can’t be recycled. This will benefit your health and your bank account.
👣♻️Love these suggestions for low waste swap ideas ♻️👣 pic.twitter.com/7YXiedtAwi
— Footprint South (@footprintsouth) August 29, 2019
Learning to sew has been the best skill I’ve acquired this year.
I started off by making myself reusable fabric produce bags to bring to the bulk store whenever I went grocery shopping.
This year, I sewed most of my Christmas presents. I sewed scrunchies and sleep masks for my friends and family, sewing to me is both therapeutic and cheap.
Learning how to DIY things can save money, but be critical with recipes for DIY products that go near your body and face.
Clean your home naturally with chemical-free #DIY cleaning products. @HunkerHome shares 17 of the top ways for all-natural home cleaning, safe enough for kids and pets: https://t.co/fXoDOJNZ2y #allnatural #cleaning #homecleaning #familyfriendlyproducts #freshhome pic.twitter.com/WT65GPKdMl
— Losani Homes (@LosaniHomesLtd) January 27, 2019
While in the recent years companies and governments have tried to raise awareness about our environmental impact, we still have a long way to go. There are things that individuals can do to reduce their personal waste and carbon footprint, in the new year we should be making sustainability one of our New Years resolutions.
Featured Image via Nadia Zywina