10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season


Isabelle Stavsky

As we approach the holiday season, it is important to know that along with being one of the jolliest times of the year, it is also the most wasteful. According to a study done by Stanford University, Americans produce 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Years. Think about all the wrapping paper, decorations, food, and extra packaging we throw away. To stick to the theme of the season of giving, here are 10 ways to give a little less waste to the environment: 

1. Reimagine Gift Wrapping!

Stop buying new glossy wrapping paper that will end up in the trash days later and try using old wrapping paper, magazines, newspapers, or paper bags.

2. Upcycle for Fun Ribbons!

Want a way to make fun ribbons and repurpose old sheets, clothing or curtains? This holiday season, try making your own DIY ribbons for a lower cost and less excess plastic. All you need is fabric and a pair of scissors! 

3. How Much Food Will Actually Get Eaten?

When cooking for the holidays, people tend to overcook, leaving loads of food to go to waste. You can try to realistically think about what will get eaten when cooking, give your leftovers to others, or compost extra food. 

4. Digital Cards: Easy to Make and Less Goes to Waste!

Instead of sending out tens or hundreds of paper holiday cards, send out digital cards. They are not only better for the environment, but much cheaper and easier to create, edit, and share.

5. If You Have a Christmas Tree, Make Sure to Recycle it Properly.

If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure to have it recycled. Many places have tree pickup services for a few weeks into January, as well as drop off sites for trees once you are done with them. To find out what services are in your area, type in your zip code to Earth 911. Recycled trees can be used for many purposes such as beachfront erosion or generating electricity. 

6. Shop Locally!

Ordering gifts online has a lot of negative impacts on the environment between shipment and extra packaging, so try to shop locally as much as possible this holiday season. Not only is shopping locally kinder to the environment, but it is always nice to support local businesses, especially around the holidays. 

7. Try Energy Saving Holiday Lights!

Why use high energy consuming holiday lights when thanks to technology there are now LED holiday lights that use 90 percent less energy? Not only is this a way to conserve energy, but a way to lower your family’s energy bill during this holiday season!

8. Experiences and Memories.

Another way to avoid all the shipment and extra wrapping of material gifts, try giving your loved ones experiential gifts this holiday season. Experiential gifts can give your loved ones a chance to try something interesting, new, or just something that they’ll remember for years to come!

9. Use Timers for Your Holiday Lights!

Why have your lights on 24/7 when you can set up a timer to turn them off when no one is out to see them anyway? A timer for your holiday lights will not only help the environment, but also your bank account. 

10. Donate to or Volunteer for an Environmental Cause!

There are so many volunteer opportunities around the holidays that you can make the most of! You can help our planet by participating in a river or park cleanup, or even volunteer to be an advocate for an environmental cause! Some great nearby organizations to look for volunteer opportunities at are: Save the Bay, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Environmental volunteers, and Bay Access.