How to Be More Sustainable Over the Holidays

Photo Credit: Small Footprint Family

Delaney Peckham, Editor

Every person has the capability to be more sustainable.  The sustainability movement has especially grown over the past 50 years with a higher awareness of the surrounding world and the impact individual actions have on it. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, sustainability exists to “to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations”. To have a cleaner and more viable future, sustainability has to exist on some level in people’s everyday lives. However, it does not have to be a massive change at all times, and it’s smart to start off small when making any sort of lifestyle changes.

During the holidays, mainly Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is more waste than ever because of the amount of food wasted and gifts purchased, so it’s a good time to consider the impact of your actions and any changes that you can make. Every little thing counts, so you don’t have to do all these things on this list, but here’s just a few that would make a difference over the holidays:

  • Instead of throwing food out, it’s more ideal to put leftovers in a reusable container or bag. According the National Resource Defense Council through aol, when speaking on food waste, “On average between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, Americans waste 5 million more pounds of food than at any other time.”
  • Another use for leftovers could be freezing them to make them last longer or donating them to people in need.
  • Recycle or compost not used food and wrapping paper.
  • Recycle your Christmas tree because more often than not they typically end up in a landfill. At, you can find places to recycle your Christmas tree in the area.
  • Research the brands that you’re buying from and make sure that they practice sustainable habits.
  • Opt for sustainable or recycled materials with wrapping to avoid wrapping paper that will be thrown away and added to a landfill.
  • Shop locally and at markets to reduce carbon emissions from the transport of food and gifts
  • If driving somewhere over the holiday season, possibly opt to carpool
  • Shop at secondhand stores or make handmade gifts instead of buying brand new items
  • Instead of buying physical items, purchase a gift card or voucher for an experience at a later date.
  • Use silverware and plates instead of plastic materials.