Our Guide to a Zero Waste Holiday
Hosting parties and giving gifts during the holidays can be a delight, but this time of year poses some particular problems with waste. The EPA estimates that Americans waste an additional one million tons of trash each week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (!!!). We know that recycling isn’t really a solution, and that this has become a major issue all around the globe, so what can you do about it?
Skipping the holidays altogether is tough, so we’ve put together a plastic-free holiday guide with all the best decorating tips and gift ideas in one place. Now you can start making small steps toward a plastic-free holiday season that might be the prettiest and most thoughtful one you’ve had yet.
THE MEOW MEOW TWEET PLASTIC-FREE HOLIDAY GUIDE
Plastic-free gifts are worth seeking out, if you’re doing the whole gift-giving thing this year. You might fall in love with an “alternative” that’s actually better than the plastic “original” you’ve always known and used. And you might convert some loved ones, too.
Get them something that’s not a “thing” at all. Chances are they will remember it and appreciate it more.
First, you can donate to an environmental, social justice, or other organization that fights for a cause that is important to them. Here are some organizations we love to give to.
Book them a spa day or a massage.
A night out at a favorite restaurant or fancy zero-waste wine bar.
Plant an herb garden, put together a memory album, or make some art.
PLASTIC-FREE HOLIDAY LIVING
Reduce Plastic at the Grocery Store
Bring reusable bags to the store, buy nuts and grains at the bulk bin, and visit local farmers’ markets for produce and pantry staples.
Plan your meals and shopping ahead of time, so you don’t end up wasting food.
Donate anything you know you won’t use to a local food bank.
Deck the Halls without Plastic
Ditch the plastic wreaths, tinsel, and fake snow in favor of natural materials that are way more likely to spark joy. We love strands of cranberries, garlands made of popcorn, evergreen sashes, bunches of eucalyptus, and dried orange slices dangling from the windows to let that wintery light in.
Get a real Christmas tree this year. This may not seem like the eco thing to do, but cutting a tree at a small tree farm is actually a great option if you don't have the ability to buy a rooted tree. Trees are a renewable crop, and small tree farms typically plant three to five trees for every one that they sell. Those trees create bird and bug habitats during the summer months and also work on sucking carbon out of the air. Buying from a local farm also means a lower carbon footprint than you would create by having a plastic tree shipped to you from across the globe.
Dispose of your tree responsibly (or as best you can given where you live and your means). Some cities have citywide composting and mulching programs, and you can use Earth911 to find out where to recycle your tree. Or, if you live somewhere woodsy, chop it up yourself to use for mulch, or let it contribute to your backyard compost bin.
Serve a Plastic-Free Holiday Feast
Use real plates, cups, cutlery, and cloth napkins (or these reusable towels).
Cook from fresh food and bulk grains to avoid plastic waste from prepackaged food.
Compost table scraps if you have the means to, and try to eat your leftovers so nothing goes to waste.
Wrap Your Gifts in Fabric
You might want to forego the paper wrapping this year, since most wrapping paper is coated in plastic and has metallic elements that can’t be recycled. Wrap your gifts in Wrag Wraps, furoshiki fabric wrapping, old newspapers, or recycled kraft paper instead. And even better if you can wrap them in a way that avoids plastic tape.
Don’t forget to practice self-care during the holidays! It’s the most wonderful / stressful / lonely time of the year. Take a peek at our Guide to Slow Living for more ideas on how to go slow and make space for your health this month and beyond.
Wishing you lots of love!
The Meow Meow Tweet blog is a collaborative thought project between the founders of Meow Meow Tweet and our editorial team. This post was written by Faye Lessler and Vera Kachouh.