Holiday Sustainability Tips

Happy Holiday Season! We hope that everyone has slipped into this celebratory period with comfort and is ready for festivities galore. But as these cold months settle in the northern hemisphere and consumerism-driven celebration ensues, the task to be sustainable becomes increasingly complex. To keep up to the task, here are some helpful tips for the wintry season. 

  1. Aim for Zero Waste! (or as close as possible)
    1. When cooking, presenting, and eating meals, always work with reusable dishes. Disposables are commonly non-recyclable and even if so, food residue may make them so. Included in this are utensils, cups, and napkins. 
    2. While cooking meals, work to limit the amount of waste produced. Keep leftovers in reusable containers and reuse bones, meat, and vegetable scraps to make stock for soup. To prevent leftover waste, use a small whiteboard on the fridge to list what needs to be eaten soon. 
    3. When gift-giving, work to reduce the amount of non-recyclable paper or wrapping used. Consider repurposing newspaper or other papers as wrapping, or buy brown kraft paper to wrap your gifts. Also consider using twine as a better reusable or compostable option compared to tape when wrapping. 
  2. Promote Sustainability!
    1. While gift-giving this holiday season, gift items that are sustainable themselves. Consider long-lasting or reusable gifts, while reducing plastics. Some ideas include reusable utensils and container kits made of metal or bamboo. Or consider giving experiences and memories instead of material goods.
    2. As New Year’s Day closes the season, consider making a sustainable resolution for the year! Challenge yourself to be vegetarian or vegan (start with just a day or two a week if that seems daunting), or reduce one area of waste in your life each month. Small steps in the right direction!

To sum it all up, always consider your consumption and waste of both energy and materials, and think of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Despite how ubiquitous that phrase is, it truly is a keystone to sustainability. Other “re-” words to consider: redirect, and repurpose during this joyous and festive season. Happy Holidays once again!

-Written by Quentin Funderburg, Sustainability Communications Intern, Class of 2025