As 2016 comes to an end, life gets a bit busier: family and friends’ gatherings, shopping, work parties, and more shopping! Bustling from place to place, it’s hard to recognize the impact of all of these extra activities, especially when it comes to solid waste. Waste disposal increases by 25 percent in the United States alone – with an extra 5 billion pounds of waste heading to landfill.
Though the statistic is shocking, making a few small eco-friendly changes can be easy and have a big impact. We promise that being a bit “green” during the holidays will not turn you into the Grinch or reduce your enjoyment. Here are a few of tips from City of Napa Waste Prevention Specialist, Kendra Bruno:
Share moments. Set a few hours (or a full day) to go explore the park, trail, or festival you have talked about for the last few years and never had time to do. Create an experience for the family that will never be forgotten – one that is “present” free! By spending time with the ones you love and not spending money on a gift – you are creating memories that will last a lifetime (while that toy may be broken in a few months).
Think reusable. When setting the table, going shopping, or wrapping a present – think reusable. Enjoy your holiday meal on a reusable plate and with a cloth napkin. If you do use disposable dishware, use paper plates that can be put in your brown compost cart rather than Styrofoam (landfill). Remember to take your reusable bags when facing the crowds out shopping. Wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about 4 million tons of trash annually in the U.S. Search “sustainable wrapping ideas” on the Internet to get some creative and fun eco-friendly wrapping suggestions, like using scarves, paper shopping bags, newspapers, and magazine wrap. If using gift bags, write “Re-use Me!” on the tag instead of someone’s name to pass it along to the next person for use.
Handmade or upcycle. Consider making or buying handmade gifts. Some of our favorites are: homemade fudge, pre-packaged cookie mix in a mason jar, bath fizzies/sugar scrub, upcycled candles, thank you/birthday cards that can be used throughout the year, soap, and more! If you are not super crafty, but love to support artisan businesses and reduce your impact on the environment, check out sites like Etsy, ArtFire, eCrater, Supermarket, and many more.
Locally owned. When out shopping for the perfect party favor or present, do not forget to support our locally owned businesses in Napa! Click here for a list of Green Businesses in and around Napa – find great gifts while supporting the community. http://www.greenbusinessca.org/ U.S.