It's no secret that there are too many single-use items clogging the waste stream these days. The holidays can be wrought with single-use items -- disposable tableware, wrapping paper and bags, and in some cases, the gifts. Fortunately, there are reusable options available for greening up your holiday celebration so that it's less wasteful and more environmentally friendly.
Holiday entertaining and gift exchanges usually include a shared meal or snacks. For many a harried host and hostess, disposable plates and cutlery are considered lifesavers. Unfortunately, those few minutes saved on washing dishes equates to a lot of single-use plastics entering the waste stream. The best alternative is to use non-disposable tableware and just do the dishes after your event. The second-best alternative is to opt for compostable plates, cups, and tableware. Just make sure they are actually dropped off at a composting center if you don't have suitable home composting options. Otherwise, these compostable options are no better than disposable tableware.
Reusable gift wrap provides an attractive and less wasteful option when compared to paper gift wraps. Many gift wrapping papers cannot be recycled because of plastic coatings or metallic designs. Reusable gift wrap is just as pretty, but you can reuse it every year. Cloth bags and wraps are the most obvious options, but you can also reuse decorative boxes for odd-shaped or fragile items. As for ribbons and bows, swap out cloth ribbons for the plastic bows. You can reuse the ribbon from year to year. You likely use the same stocking every year, so why not do the same with your gift wrap? Find a supplier like Wrapeez LLC to see the options they have.
Not all gifts are disposable, but many are unnecessary and end up gathering dust or being donated soon after the holidays. The world has enough coffee mugs with clever savings! If you aren't sure what to get someone, skip the plastic tchotchke and opt for a consumable gift that the recipient is more likely to enjoy and use. For example, a nice bottle of wine or a craft beer makes an enjoyable gift, and the glass bottle is fully recyclable. For non-drinkers, fancy sparkling ciders or a bottle of craft kombucha or root beer makes for nice alternatives. Package the bottle up in a reusable wine bag for the perfect green gift.
The holidays don't have to equal wastefulness and overconsumption. With some advance planning, your holiday get-togethers can be eco-friendly and enjoyable.