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Tips for Holiday Sustainability

(graphic: Inhabitat)

It’s hard to believe how fast this year has passed, and that we have already arrived at the holiday season! Of course, with increased consumerism around the holidays comes increased waste: between materials, packaging, food, energy consumed in transit etc., the holidays are the most wasteful time of the year. In fact, studies show that Americans “throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage” (Stanford University).

Luckily, there’s a handful of ways to significantly reduce holiday waste in your individual households. Thus, in today’s Blog, you’ll find some ideas on how to make the most wasteful time of the year back into the most wonderful time of the year!



Consider eco-friendly gifts

Although “eco-friendly” doesn’t always sound the most glamorous right off the bat, there are actually endless options for highly covetable sustainable items! Here are a few brief suggestions, but a quick internet search will open up a world of possibilities!

  • A zero-waste kit is always a great place to start, and there’s an option for everybody! you can find a list of some of the best options here.
  • Experts insist quality bedding is one of the best home investments. So it’s extra good news that there is a wide variety of sustainable bedding brands. Check out this list to read about some of the major contenders!
  • Did you know 75% of the world’s coffee is farmed with practices that do not consider the needs of migratory birds, or even actively destroy forest habitat? Luckily you can purchase Bird Friendly Coffee, a robust certification from the Smithsonian granted to farms that ensures a mix of foliage cover, tree height, and biodiversity that creates quality habitat for birds and other wildlife. You can peruse an online selection of Bird Friendly Coffee here!
  • One of the best ways to gift sustainably is to purchase handmade items from local makers. Most cities and towns have a number of art markets and festivals around the holidays where you can buy directly from artists (while enjoying a festive outing)!
  • According to Inhabitat, nearly 60% of Americans receive unwanted gifts during the holidays. Some are regifted, but many end up in landfills. A great way to avoid this predicament is to gift experiences instead of items. One excellent option? A Zoo Atlanta gift membership!

hs2Waste free gift wrap

According to Stanford University, if every family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough to cover 45,000 football fields. Most traditional wrapping paper isn’t recyclable, and paper that is often still ends up in the trash. Instead, consider reusable fabric giftwrap, or getting creative with how you bundle your gifts (find some ideas here).




Sustainable Lights

Holiday lights are inarguably lovely, but traditional bulbs consume enough energy to power 400,000 homes for a year. LED holiday lights are a much more eco-friendly option, using 80% less energy than traditional lighting (if you want to see just how bright and vibrant they can be, make sure to stop by IllumiNights!). Solar and battery powered lights are also both great options: get suggestions for all three here!

By implementing even just one of these actions, you’ll be significantly reducing your holiday waste. You can get more tips and ideas for holiday sustainability here! Happy holiday season to you all!


  • 8 Zero Waste Kits That Are Perfect For Beginners and Zero Waste Gifts. Sustain Life. (2022, July 8). Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://sustainlifejournal.com/zero-waste-kit/
  • About Bird Friendly Coffee. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  • Bunch, E. (2022, October 13). 18 Best Eco-Friendly Bedding Brands You Can Feel Extra Good Snuggling In. Well + Good. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.wellandgood.com/eco-friendly-bedding/
  • Holiday Waste Prevention: How Much a Typical Person Generates. Brightly. (2021, December 21). Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://brightly.eco/blog/holiday-waste-generation-and-prevention
  • Thompson, D. (2022, September 5). Quality Bedding Is The Key To A Restful Sleep. The Science Times. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/39745/20220905/quality-bedding-is-the-key-to-a-restful-sleep.htm
  • Zero Waste Gift Wrapping: 8 Ideas For Waste-Free Giving. Sustainable Jungle. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.sustainablejungle.com/zero-waste/zero-waste-gift-wrapping

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