Despite the fact that the debate over climate change and sustainability has been around for decades, every year tons of waste is produced, particularly during the Holiday season, and ends up in the soil and the ocean. You can help by following these three simple steps to make the situation a little better:
Buy thoughtful presents
Don’t put present shopping last on your list of priorities, and don’t rush out to the stores at the last minute to buy stuff your friend or family member doesn’t want or need. Instead, question everyone about what exactly they need. If you want to make it really unique and surprising, ask them to send you their wish-list, along with all of the details and links to the exact things they want, and then purchase them something from it without telling them what they’ll get. This way, the receiver will get exactly what they wanted, which will greatly minimize the waste. If you want to wrap their present into wrapping paper, choose a sustainable and eco-friendly option, for example the one that can be recycled or composted.
Pay attention to what you wear
The fashion market is one of the most unsustainable industries, with irreversible environmental consequences. Every year, especially around the Christmas season, brands create more and more collections, making you want to buy their products instinctively. On a global level, around 85% of all textiles end up in a dumpster. To avoid this, don’t buy an item of clothing, especially one made of synthetic fibers, with the sole intention of wearing it once for Christmas dinner and then storing it in the closet and never wearing it again. Rather, invest on versatile things made of natural fibers that will last a long time and can be worn on multiple occasions. These sweaters, cardigans and other Irish knitwear garments for example, are made entirely of Merino wool, which is one of the world’s quickest biodegradable textiles. This fiber can decompose in the soil in two to three months, whereas a synthetic fabric like acryl, which is now a popular choice for sweaters, takes roughly 200 years to break down. The choice you should make is fairly obvious.
Minimize your food waste
Don’t buy and cook too much food during the holiday season. Each year, it already became a traditional thing for us to see thousands of people rushing to the stores and buying everything that they see on the shelves only to get it thrown away at the beginning of January. In order to be more sustainable this season, make a list of all the meals that you plan on cooking and purchase only the necessary ingredients, especially the ones that are quickly alterable. And if you happen to cook too much food that will definitely go bad, instead of keeping all your leftovers in the fridge and then throwing them away because no one eats them, donate them to those in need, be it an NGO that helps families in need or a homeless man that hasn’t eaten a warm home-cooked meal in who knows how long.