The fall and winter holiday season has finally arrived. Starting with Thanksgiving, people all over the globe will soon be observing Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and numerous other winter holidays, capped off by ringing in the New Year on December 31-January 1.
The winter holidays are a time for celebration, get-togethers, gift-giving, and reflection. It’s also a time for an incredible amount of waste and resource utilization.
Now, before you say “bah-humbug” and “don’t rain on my holiday parade,” let’s look at the facts:
In the United States alone, when compared to other times of year, we throw away about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Much of that trash comes in the form of plastic packaging, wrapping paper, disposable food containers, and shopping bags. Imagine the impact that much trash has on our landfills, and how much of that trash may never even see a landfill, winding up as litter on our roadways. Now imagine if we were more eco-conscious in our approach to the holidays.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if every American family this holiday season “wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.” (What an amazing result from taking just one, simple action!)
What are some other ways we can make our holidays more eco-friendly?
Consider these eight tips for enjoying a more environmentally-friendly holiday season this year:
- Decorate with durable, re-usable items. Instead of trimming with perishable decorations (such as flowers, trees, and wreaths), go with an artificial tree or wreath, re-usable silk flowers, or better yet, living trees or plants. Not only will you save a living tree or plant, you can replant live trees or flowers outside or keep them as houseplants long after the holidays are gone. In the case of re-using artificial items, think of the nostalgia of enjoying them over and over, year-to-year.
- Use fewer or no lights in your holiday decorations. Try to go light-free this holiday season. If lights are a must, make the transition to more energy-efficient LED strings. Also, attach any indoor or outdoor decorative lights to a timer that turns them on and off each day so you don’t have to remember. It’ll save you headaches—and electricity.
- Make fewer shopping trips. Instead of going multiple times to the mall or your local downtown, combine several outings into one. You might even consider carpooling to shopping trips or other holiday events. You could also go “all-in” with this idea and do most of your shopping online.
- Purchase gifts that are locally made or grown. Such gifts typically come with minimal packaging, reducing waste and the use of plastics. In addition, you support your local economy (and your neighbors) when you buy from local merchants, craft shows, or antique shops.
- Handcrafted gifts are always popular. Think of gifts such as handmade soaps, treats and goodies, drawings and paintings (especially by the little ones), and picture frames and photos. These are the kinds of gifts people tend to appreciate the most.
- Use do-it-yourself wrapping paper. Did you know that most store-bought wrapping paper is not recyclable due to all the shiny coatings, foils, and colors—meaning it ends up clogging landfills? Instead, use old scarves, fabric scraps, handkerchiefs, old maps, reusable tins, baking pans, old magazines, old newspapers, or other home items. Be creative—if it’s re-usable or can be re-purposed, use it!
- Send cards by email or make your own. If you do buy cards, make sure they are made from recycled materials. Cards also have another benefit: their fronts can be re-used as colorful decorations or re-used as gift tags.
- Shop with re-usable bags and totes. Naturally, this tip is near and dear to us at Belvedere Exclusive. You can help reduce the use of plastics and paper around the holidays (and all year long) when you use re-usable shopping bags to cart around holiday gifts, holiday food, or other necessities. Keep your re-usable shopping bags in your car or in a handy spot at home so you can remember to bring them with you each time you go shopping. Best estimates are that the average person in the U.S. uses between 350 and 500 single use plastic bags every year. Multiply that number by 300 million and it’s easy to see how, if each one of us were to switch to re-usable bags, we could make a huge difference when it comes to the impact of plastics on our environment!
Environmentally-Friendly Reusable Bags
Belvedere Exclusive is the premier source for environmentally-friendly reusable tote bags, insulated cooler bags, canvas tote bags, and other related products. All of our products are recycled, recyclable, or biodegradable/compostable.
Not only are the use of these kinds of bags good for the environment, but they also make great gifts themselves! As for retailers, a reusable shopping bag imprinted with the company’s logo can create brand ambassadors out of your customers and employees, boosting impressions and building brand awareness.
Belvedere’s VALUE Collection
Belvedere offers the lowest cost FOB USA non-woven shopping bags on the market: 100-gram PP non-woven, PP-5 recyclable, fully customized in six different sizes to fully meet your business needs. Our flexible program offers discounts over multiple ship dates, and bags are available in both screen printed and full color all for under $1.00 per bag! Learn More
Belvedere’s ECO Collection
Made from recycled products, these 100-gram Recycled PET non-woven, PETE-1 recyclable bags are fully customizable and come in three different sizes. They’re available in as low as 10 carton increments with three different printing methods depending on art. This is our premium product designed to help you make your eco-statement! Learn More
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