Most of us look forward to the holiday season, but it seems to lead to an increase in consumption all round, leading to more waste, in particular. It doesn’t have to cost a lot or take a lot of effort to make a few changes to reduce your water and energy use, and cut down on waste. Try to plan ahead when making a purchase about how you are going to dispose of it, instead of realizing later that, oh, those foam plates are just garbage, or that foil wrap can’t be recycled, or what will I do with the old one? (Take a look at your municipality’s current recycling guidelines.)
REAL has covered a lot of the options in past newsletters, so here are some ideas from Christmas’s past. For some general ideas see our Dec. 2019 issue, for ideas on reducing waste see Dec. 2011, or some tips from Dec. 2017 on gift cards, alcohol bottles, regifting and buying reused gifts. Shopping locally is a great choice (Dec. 2016), and for the hard to buy for person, consider a charitable gift in their name, as discussed Dec. 2018, or a gift to a developing nation (Dec. 2011). For some inexpensive upcycling ideas to reduce decorating waste, see our Dec. 2015 issue. There are lots of fun ideas for reducing gift wrapping waste (Dec. 2012) The artificial vs. natural tree debate continues to rage, as discussed in 2011 and again in 2014 when we also weighed in on handwashing vs a dishwasher for reducing water use, LED lights for energy reduction, and how eco-friendly is shipping. There are lots of no cost ways to reduce your home energy use over the holidays and the entire winter, like turning down the thermostat at night or closing the blinds or drapes when the sun goes down (Dec. 2013)
And finally, remember to think second hand first when you are looking or something this season, and take a look at the REAL Deal or other local second-hand stores. The REAL Deal has a good supply of ornaments, mugs, stockings, tree stands, gift bags, package trims and most things Christmas, all of which is now 50% off! If you are expecting company, stock up on inexpensive glassware, cutlery and plates, too, so you don’t resort to disposables. We have lots of large glass Christmas platters, and always have lots of bowls and platters for year-round use.
Please note that the last shopping day for 2021 at the REAL Deal is Thurs. Dec. 23rd, as the store will be closed for the holidays, reopening Wed. Jan. 5. Please hang on to your donations and electronic waste while we are closed, we will be happy to take it when the store is open.