- This article was contributed by Kane County Division of Environmental and Water Resources Resource Management Coordinator Jessica Mino and intern Ashley Broussard.
The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner!
With a plethora of holidays coming our way, this also means a lot of junk coming to our landfills. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, landfills see a 25 percent increase in waste.
By making a few slight changes in your shopping habits this holiday season, you can help make a positive impact on the environment.
Plan Your Shopping
If you go holiday shopping with friends or family members, carpool to save on fuel and reduce emissions. Try staying close to home and do most of your shopping in one trip to be most fuel-efficient.
Remember your reusable bags! Plastic bags cannot be recycled in your curbside bin so they end up either in the landfill or our waterways, like the Fox River. If you don’t have a reusable bag already, make one using a T-shirt! If you like the convenience of not carrying your own bags around, opt for a paper bag, which can be composted.
Think About What You Are Buying
Shop local. Aim for Small Business Saturday rather than Black Friday shopping. You are supporting your local community shops, and the crowds are often more manageable.
Keep It Natural. Opt for gifts made of organic (like cotton and wool) and biodegradable ingredients. Synthetic materials, including polyester and plastic, add to microplastic pollution in our water. To ensure what goes into a product, make the gift yourself.
Be conscious of the waste produced by shipping online products. Saving a trip to the store is not always the best option. Consider how far you need to go versus how many products you will be buying. Large online orders can be sent individually, each wrapped in their own plastic bag – inside another box or bag! The shipping waste can add up quickly.
Are you known to leave receipts in your bag, wallet, or car for months at a time? Save the clutter and go for the paperless receipt when available.
Skip the cards. Cards can be pricey, and they are often read once before being tossed out. Keep the clutter away by sending e-greeting cards to your friends and family.
Give experiences. There are many great gifts someone can give without having a physical possession. Instead of a possession, give something memorable like an activity-filled day and #OptOutside. Get your winter coats on and head outside to an activity trail near you. Buy rock-climbing lessons, a museum/zoo membership, concert tickets, or take the family out for a day of ice skating and hot cocoa.
Give the gift of giving. Contributing to a cause that the person you are looking to buy for deeply cares about can have one of the greatest impacts this holiday season. Not only will you bring a smile to your loved one’s face, but you will also be spreading the good beyond the holiday and your home. Whether a(n) environmental, human services, health, or animal care non-profit or charity, your contribution will spread the true meaning of the holidays.
Ultimately, minimizing consumption by buying less will have the greatest positive impact on the environment.
See how to create less food waste this holiday season with our recycling tips.
Read More Holiday Recycling Tips!