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10 Ways to Shop Green For the Holiday Season

How You Can Do Your Part in Saving the Climate

The holiday season is filled with joy, but it's also filled with trash. After hosting your family on Christmas morning, you look around your living room to see lots of wrapping paper on the floor, bows scattered around the house, and various packaging is thrown on furniture. Unfortunately, all of this ends up in landfills, but garbage isn't the only non-eco-friendly part of the holidays. Luckily, you can make better shopping decisions for a greener and sustainable holiday. Here are a few ways to shop greener this holiday season...

How You Can Do Your Part in Saving the Climate
  1. Use Less Wrapping 

Wrappings are the biggest contributors to waste during the holidays. Since plastic from packaging ends up in landfills and can take hundreds of years to decompose, try shopping for gifts with less wrapping and packaging. Unfortunately, toys and electronics are major offenders, and they're the most popular holiday gifts. Unfortunately, these gifts are often packed in plastic, making them difficult to open and contributing to more waste during the joyous season. 

Try to find items that have compostable or fully recyclable wrappings and packaging. You should also use eco-friendly wrapping paper and reusable gift bags to reduce your impact on the environment.

  1. Buy Sustainable Materials 

Plastic pollutes the air, soil, and water, but you can find sustainable materials for gifts. For example, wood toys, bamboo fabrics, and hemp paper products are more environmentally friendly, and you can find several premium gifts made out of these materials instead of cheap plastics. Many popular influencers discuss how you can implement more ecologically friendly practices into your every day life, and when the holidays turn up, they’ll be the first to talk about it. 

  1. Shop Locally

Even if a product is made sustainably, it must travel thousands of miles to stores near you. However, shopping from small local businesses can help minimize your carbon footprint this holiday season because they don't require as much transportation that contributes to climate change. You can find gifts at many local shops, made in your city by local artists that use sustainable or recycled materials and have low carbon footprints. Additionally, check out local flea or farmer’s markets for gifts as many local businesses will rent out space to show their products. You are more likely to find good deals if you shop locally as well.

  1. Buy All Gifts at Once

If you can, try to find a store where you can purchase all of your gifts to reduce the number of times your vehicle is on the road. Rather than spending time, money, and wasting gas on multiple trips to the store, try to grab everything you'll need for the holiday season at one time, including presents on one trip and groceries on another. Additionally, if your grocery store is located near a shopping mall, you can park and walk to purchase gifts, reducing your use of fossil fuels while shopping. Additionally, doing your shopping all at once can help you keep track of spending and stick to your budget for holiday gifts

  1. Recycle Electronics

If anyone in your family wants electronics, consider recycling the old ones. Unfortunately, far too many people don't know how to recycle electronics, including laptops, tablets, and cell phones. However, nonprofit organizations and local resources allow you to drop your old electronics off, and they'll recycle them for you. You can also find dozens of recycling drop-off locations around town. 

If you can't find a way to properly dispose of old electronics, consider donating them when purchasing new ones.

  1. Unsubscribe from Print Catalogs

Many brands send their customers gift catalogs every holiday season to allow you to see what's available for purchase. Unfortunately, print catalogs are harmful to the environment because they're made of paper. These catalogs no longer need to be printed because customers can access them online or have them emailed to them instead of mailed. Think about all the gift catalogs you're subscribed to and cancel those subscriptions in favor of digital products instead, allowing you to browse the hottest gifts without worrying about your impact on the environment. 

  1. Gift Digital Gift Cards

Gift cards are made of plastic, which takes years to decompose in landfills. Luckily, virtual gifts such as gift cards no longer need to be physical gifts. Instead, you can send your friends and family digital gift cards that allow them to shop at their favorite stores without having the physical card in hand. With digital gift cards, your loved ones can make purchases online or in-store, as long as they have their card's unique ID number with them. Depending on the type of gift card, a cashier may even be able to scan it on someone's phone. 

  1. Buy Pajamas Made of Sustainable Fabrics

If you're like the many families that celebrate Christmas morning together, you may have a pajama tradition in which everyone opens a gift the night before, and it's always pajamas, which you wear the next morning when opening gifts under the tree. But, of course, the fashion industry is one of the least sustainable because they use supply chains and production processes that can harm the environment. 

Shopping from sustainable apparel brands can help you make better purchasing decisions this holiday season. Look for brands that use sustainable materials like hemp and bamboo instead of traditional cotton. 

  1. Carpool Shopping 

Instead of letting the entire family shop separately, consider going on shopping trips together and carpooling to different shops around town. You can pack your entire family into a single car and hit all the stores you need to in one day, limiting the number of cars on the road during the busiest time of the year. 

You can also choose to shop online instead of in stores. Many companies offer online deals earlier in the year, and they don't require you to get in the car at all. Shopping for products online may not be completely sustainable because the gifts must still be transported, but it can reduce your own carbon footprint. 

  1. Buy Second-Hand Gifts

Second-hand gifts can be just as thoughtful as brand-new gifts; in many cases, they can carry more meaning. So if anyone in your family likes vintage clothing or furniture, consider going to your nearest second-hand store, where you can find beautiful gifts for those who like antiques or old gifts. 

Final Thoughts

When trying to make your holiday season more eco-friendly, go beyond thinking about how you shop. There are many ways to be more green this holiday season. For example, instead of wrapping paper, you can put gifts in reusable bags and collect them at the end of the holiday. Being mindful of your holiday habits can help you make more sustainable choices. 

Megan Isola

Megan Isola

Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.

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