The holidays are designed for good times and great memories. They are a time we get together with friends and family members to celebrate. Unfortunately, they can also be a time of excess. Where there is excess, we tend to forget about sustainability, but we don't have to. From USB-C rechargeable AA batteries to compostable packaging choices, we can make the impacts of this holiday season a bit more sustainable than it would be otherwise.
Sustainability is all about using our resources in such a way as to minimize our negative impacts on the world. Ultimately, the goal is to make sure that future generations can enjoy the planet as much as we do. So how can we work toward that lofty goal in our holiday celebrations?
Below are five ideas to get you started. The Pale Blue Earth team is committed to sustainable decisions in our own holiday celebrations. We encourage you to do likewise.
1. Invest in Rechargeable Batteries
We need to start with USB-C rechargeable batteries. It is our business after all, so where else would we start?
Battery sales increase this time of year as people buy them to go along with the gifts they give. We hate to say that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for alkaline battery manufacturers and their retailers (just notice the huge battery displays when you are out shopping).
You can help create a more sustainable future by just saying no to single-use cells. Instead, invest in rechargeable batteries. They will save money in the long run and keep single-use alkaline cells out of landfills.
2. Give Gifts in Reusable Bags
We get the fact that tearing wrapping paper off is part of the fun of receiving gifts. It can even be fun to spend several hours on Christmas Eve wrapping presents. But from a sustainability perspective, wrapping paper is not the best option. Giving gifts in reusable paper bags is more aligned toward the sustainability mindset.
3. Give Experiences Instead of Things
If you want to avoid wrapping paper, alkaline batteries, and single-use plastic packaging altogether, try taking a different tack with your Christmas shopping this year. Instead of giving things (as in tangible objects) give experiences instead. They will not end up in landfills. They will not increase a recipient's waste stream.
4. Replace Your Incandescent Lighting
Perhaps you are into the whole lighting thing. If Christmas lights are your jam, consider replacing older strings of incandescent bulbs with new LED strings. LED light bulbs consume far less power. They also last longer and are safer from a fire hazard perspective. LED is the way to go for sure.
5. Try a Potted Christmas Tree
There are some who suggest that a cut Christmas tree is a more sustainable choice compared to an artificial tree. We are not sure if that's true, but we do know that you can buy potted Christmas trees. What is a potted tree? As its name suggests, it is a tree contained within a pot. You don't have to put it in a stand.
The main benefit of a potted tree is that you can plant it in the yard after Christmas. Instead of putting it out to the curb for the trash hauler, you get to enjoy the tree year after year.
These five ideas represent just a drop in the proverbial bucket. There are, of course, other ways to make the holidays more sustainable so just do your best and pursue any other ideas you come up with yourself.
Enjoy this year's holiday season!