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Sustainable holidays

Gazette student columnist says make this Christmas a green one

Student Life

By Nicole Noseworthy

The holidays can be a wasteful time of year.

So much packaging is involved with buying and wrapping gifts, making food and all the other festive activities. If you’re conscious about the environment like I am, I’m here to help make Christmas more sustainable with a few ideas.

Reduce wrapping paper

Wrapping paper goes into the garbage as soon as we’re done with it and ultimately ends up in the landfill. So why not turn to some options that are better for the environment?

Instead of purchasing gift boxes, keep boxes from other items you’ve purchased or acquired to put gifts in. Instead of using gift bags and tissue paper to put presents in, you can use reusable shopping bags.

“A trick I learned from my grandma, a master of recycling, is to cut pretty pieces out of old Christmas cards to use as gift tags.”

If the person you’re giving a gift to already knows what they’re getting, skip the wrapping and just put a bow on it!

A trick I learned from my grandma, a master of recycling, is to cut pretty pieces out of old Christmas cards to use as gift tags instead of buying new ones.

Carpool

Chances are if you’re going to a party over the holidays, you’ll know some of the other guests attending.

Instead of everyone driving there separately, have someone drive and rotate for the next party and the next party after that. Even if you and some friends aren’t going to the same party but are going to nearby destinations, think about carpooling to save on gas!

What’s even better than carpooling is walking (if you’re nearby, of course). Walking home on a winter night and seeing all the lights can be so refreshing and cheerful.

Shop locally

. . . and take your own bag.

The number of plastic bags that get thrown out is alarming. You can bring your own bag to the store to reduce your contribution to this serious problem. Some larger businesses offer their own reuseable bags for purchase or you can keep a cloth one rolled up in your bag or car.

Shopping around town instead of online is a good option, if possible, not only because it helps the local economy but because of the reduction in packaging and the fuel burned on airplanes, ships and trucks to ship it to your door.

“If you’re at a store and have forgotten your reusable bags, ask if they sell them there.”

Alternatively, some stores have pretty gift bags that your purchases come in for free, so in the spirit of reducing wrapping paper, use one of the free bags as wrapping for the present you are giving.

If you’re at a store and have forgotten your reusable bags, ask if they sell them there. If they don’t, ask for a larger plastic bag so you can put things in it as you continue your shopping.

Sustainability first

Try to make this Christmas season an environmentally friendly one. We need to safeguard our planet for many generations to come, so keep sustainability in mind this season — and all year round.

Happy holidays!


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