Holiday Prep 101: Reduce and Reuse
Dec 16, 2014 06:02AM
By Pamela Meroski
The final seasonal rush is on to find those perfect gifts, decorate your home, prepare food and entertain family and friends. When making your holiday purchases, a few conscious decisions can save more than money; you can help lower the environmental impact of seasonal consumer products.
How about giving a gift that keeps on giving each time it is used? A refillable hot drink container paired with a gift card from Starbucks or Perfectos will stretch your dollars and keep single-use cups out of the waste stream. Both coffee shops will discount coffee purchases when a refillable container is used. Plastic BPA-free, refillable water bottles are another gift that everyone can use. They are easily refillable for free at school, the office or while traveling at airports and hotels. They eliminate the need for one-and-done water bottles. Another great gift purchase is a water-filtering pitcher system such as Brita. Say good-bye to plastic gallon jugs forever.
And while out shopping, say “no thank you” to ubiquitous single-use bags at checkout. Bring your reusable shopping bags to the supermarket and mall. These make transporting purchases easy, keeping groceries upright in the car. At the mall you can sling the long-handled bags over your shoulder as you continue to shop. Canvas reusable bags (also make great gifts) are virtually indestructible. They can be washed and reused for decades.
When purchasing gift-wrapping, choose heavier weight papers. These can be refolded after use, stored and reused for multiple holiday seasons. Gift boxes also can be refolded and stored away for reuse. Ditto for the ribbons and bows.
Decorating is easy when you forage locally for pinecones and evergreen branches blown down during the recent storms. Your home will be filled with seasonal scents, compliments of nature! After use they can be returned where you found them and left to nourish the woodland floor for next spring’s undergrowth. And all free of charge!
When entertaining large groups of guests, consider using paper plates and utensils that can be composted. These items make clean up easy; simply add them to your compost bin.
Keep it simple and create your own win-win reduce and reuse ideas for the holidays. One idea will easily lead to another as you check off items on your “to do” list.