Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The holiday season is officially upon us, which means it’s time to begin buying gifts! According to the EPA, between Thanksgiving & New Year’s Day, Americans throw away a million extra tons of garbage each week (EPA). All of this extra waste adds up and can negatively impact our environment. There are easy ways to reduce waste and be more eco-friendly this holiday season.

  1. Wrapping paper: Wrapping paper creates millions of tons of waste, most ending up in landfills as the shiny, glittery paper is unable to be recycled. When wrapping gifts, try to opt for recyclable wrapping paper, gift bags that can be reused, or even using reusable shopping bags, as they now often make them with prints or graphics that you can pick to personalize it!  
  2. Reusable gifts: A great way to be eco-friendly is to show your friends and family how easy it is to swap common products out for more sustainable ones. Gifting reusable straws, beeswax wrap, produce bags, grocery bags, baking cups, makeup remover pads, paper towels, etc. are all great options!
  3. Experiences: I’ve personally found over the last couple years that much of what I wanted I already had or had bought for myself, so my friends and family have begun focusing more on things we could do. Examples of this include concert tickets, trips, or passes to events. 
  4. Donate money or time: Another great option is to choose a cause that you’d like your friends and family to donate to in your name. So many organizations were hit hard during COVID due to not being able to host fundraisers like they used to, so this would be an amazing option for those looking to give back this holiday season.
  5. Make handmade or DIY gifts: The options are endless with this one, as it can be as simple as baking a treat, or you can go on Pinterest and DIY almost anything from custom tees, resin photo holders, etc.!
  6. Shop local: shopping local can be eco-friendly because they may source their products locally which makes it a more sustainable shopping option.
  7. Go thrifting: I think for some (myself included in the past) there was this weird stigma around thrifting because we feel as though everything we use or gift should be brand-new. But over the last year, I learned so much about fast fashion and how critical it is that we pay attention to all the things we buy. There are so many great things that you can find when shopping second-hand!
  8. Plants: Potted plants, flowers, or herbs that are pollinator-friendly are especially helpful when aiming to be eco-friendly. You can also gift seeds for flowers, vegetables, or herbs so they can plant them the following spring!
  9. Headspace or streaming service membership: Headspace is a meditation app that can be a wonderful gift for college students (or basically anyone) as we all should have healthy ways to cope with stress. Or, you can give the gift streaming services like Netflix or Hulu!
  10. Gift cards: Gift cards are also a good way to be more eco-friendly because you can find a store or restaurant that your loved one likes, and then they can buy whatever they’d like to!

While it can seem more challenging to be entirely eco-friendly during the holidays, there are easy things that we can do to help protect our environment. Excessive consumerism has taken a toll on our planet and it’s vital that we all begin to opt for more eco-friendly purchases. The holiday season is a great time to start as it’s the time of year where we are giving the most gifts to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and more.

Citations

“Reduce Waste Generated during the Holidays.” Reduce Your Holiday Waste, https://www.epa.state.oh.us/pic/facts/holiday.

Natasha is currently working towards her Bachelor's of Science in Psychology. She plans to return to the U after graduating to obtain a second bachelor's degree in Community Health. She adores animals, music, nature, art, and spending time with her friends and family.