Practicing sustainability nearly feels impossible to do over the holiday season with it being such a busy time of the year, but UW Sustainability has provided us with ten suggestions to help! We encourage you to choose one or two actions from each category below.
Shopping & Buying Gifts
- Purchase gifts that are long-lasting or that can be reused and later recycled.
- Make your own gifts: edible gifts such as breads, cookies, cakes, dried fruits, nut mixes, canned goods, jams/jellies, or herbed vinegars make fantastic gifts. Use your arts and crafts skills to knit a scarf, crochet a hat or mittens, paint a watercolor, or design your own jewelry. Make a calendar by using family photos marked with important dates.
- Plan a “re-gift” swap with your like-minded friends and family.
- Bring your own reusable tote bag when shopping.
- Make the wrapping part of a gift. Gardening pots are easy to fill with gardening supplies. A mixing bowl or stockpot makes an excellent package for your favorite cook. Utilize a dish towel for kitchen goods or a blanket for baby items to wrap your gift in a bundle and tie with a cloth ribbon. Use an old map for the traveler in your life, or the comics for kids. If you’re crafty, embroider a pillowcase and place your gifts inside.
- Ask companies to ship your packages using paper instead of polystyrene packing peanuts. If you do receive packing peanuts bring them, and other styrofoam packaging, to shipping stores for reuse.
- Energy Star qualified LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are 90 percent more efficient than traditional Christmas lights and LED’s last longer.
- Unplug unnecessary electronics when you travel whether it’s for a single night or a full week.
- Choose your candles carefully: Many conventional candles contain paraffin, a petroleum-based ingredient that the EPA says can negatively affect your indoor air quality. Soy or beeswax candles don’t contain paraffin, so look for those whenever possible.
- String together popcorn and cranberries, or make garland out of old jewelry, small stuffed animals or toys, trinkets, memorabilia, cookie cutters, buttons, etc.
We hope you have a safe holiday season. If you are feeling extra motivated, sign up for the 30 Day Sustainability Self Paced Challenge here.