“The tip sheet covers everything from the packaging used to wrap holiday gifts to the types of gifts themselves,” says Ashkin. “The goal is to give as we always do, but just do it in a more environmentally responsible and sustainable way.”
With that said, Ashkin offers the following sustainable holiday suggestions:
- Wrap gifts using recycled paper or reusable items. About 42 million tons of gift wrapping are used this time of year in the United States. Consider using recycled gift wrap or placing gifts in reusable baskets or fabric bags.
- If you want a tree, select a live holiday tree. Most artificial holiday trees are made from materials that cannot be recycled. Freshly cut trees often come from farms where new trees will be planted.
- Use LED (light-emitting diode) lighting. LED lamps consume less than a quarter of the electricity used by a typical light bulb, come in a variety of shapes and colors, last longer, and are far safer.
- Purchase gifts from local vendors. Some retailers cater to local companies, and purchasing their products can mean fewer carbon emissions are released in transportation.
- Give a gift of service. Instead of a product, consider a gift of service such as tickets to a show, a free home cleaning, or dinner and a night at a local hotel.
- Give a gift of time. Freeing up someone’s time by making a home-cooked meal or offering to baby-sit can prove to be a meaningful gift to the right person.
- Give sustainable lifestyle gifts. Giving a free monthly bus pass or paying for a year’s worth of curbside recycling can put someone on the road to becoming a more environmentally responsible citizen.
“There are lots of ways to make this a more sustainable holiday season,” says Ashkin. “And just remember, every sustainable gift we give is also a gift honoring our planet.”