Holidays are a blast for many people around the world, no matter their religious affiliation or beliefs. Whether, it’s Easter, Hanukkah, New Years, or Beltane, holidays are a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones and eat plenty of delicious food. However, holidays can be some of the most wasteful days of the year. Between the food waste, the presents, and all of the plastic wrap, holidays can fill a trash can in a matter of minutes if you’re not careful.
Worry not though, as there are many ways we can all help to reduce our environmental impact, even when we’re celebrating. One of the biggest myths around environmentalism and zero/low waste is that reducing your impact reduces the things you can enjoy in life and that you’ll miss out on everything life has to offer. This is not true at all! You can have parties will very little waste, you can eat a varied diet, you can travel, you can have a family, and you can enjoy life to its fullest, all while avoiding waste where ever you can.
Reduce the waste and increase the fun by…
- Sending e-invitations over paper or plastic invitations
- Asking guests to bring homemade food instead of store bought
- Encouraging guests to use aluminum foil over plastic wrap
- Using real silverware and dishes versus paper and especially plastic
- Providing cloth napkins over paper
- Choosing beverages that are either naked or packaged in glass or aluminum containers
- Providing “experience gifts”, like gift certificates to do fun things, in place of physical gifts
- Avoiding wrapping paper and encouraging guests to use things like newspaper, brown paper, or cloth to wrap presents
- Better yet, giving naked presents over wrapped presents
- Avoiding plastic confetti, glitter, and balloons
- Making your own biodegradable confetti
- Focusing party games around activities that don’t require a lot of waste or around activities that you or guests may already own (board games, etc.)
- Cutting up whole fruits and vegetables for fruit/vegetable platters instead of buying the premade platters
- Making your own decorations, or inviting friends over and making a party out of that too
- Making more meatless dishes
Alane Ertel is a graduate from the MPH program at the University of North Florida, and was an Intern at their Environmental Center during the creation of this project. Alane’s goal in creating this project is to increase awareness of environmental issues, spread zero/low waste practices, and improve environmental and human health by utilizing her passions for the environment and for creating a healthier society.