While the holidays are a highly anticipated time of the year, they can be quite damaging to the environment. The disposal of wrapping paper, plastic decorations (learn about polyethylene vs. polypropylene), broken toys, and holiday cards results in unnecessary waste and severe harm to the environment. The additional driving to various shopping centers also harms the environment through the burning of fossil fuels.
Overall, it’s important to be mindful of your environmental impact during the holidays, and one of the best places to start is by doing your holiday shopping in an environmentally-friendly way. Next holiday season, be sure to decrease your carbon footprint and take advantage of these eco-friendly holiday shopping tips.
1. Shop With Reusable Bags
One of the most popular eco-friendly shopping trends is the reusable canvas bag. By shopping with a reusable bag, you are directly eliminating wasteful plastic bags. Plastic bags are not biodegradable, and they remain in the environment as micro toxins that impact everything from water quality and the marine ecosystem to human life.
Since the holidays consist of high volumes of shopping, more plastic bags enter the environment during this time of the year than at any other time. If holiday shoppers cut back on this one simple issue, the positive environmental impact that will come as a result would be tremendous. Reusable bags are inexpensive and can typically be found in a majority of stores, so they’re easy to obtain and worth the purchase.
2. Buy Eco-Friendly Products
Gifting eco-friendly products is a great way to help the environment while also spreading awareness of climate change and the benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle. Eco-friendly gifts can include reusable products, such as water bottles, straws, bags, and more. They can also include personal hygiene products that consist of natural or organic ingredients.
Eco-friendly products can essentially be found in any category, including jewelry. Since jewelry, and specifically engagement rings, are popular gifts during the holidays, it’s important to be aware of which types of jewelry are damaging to the environment and which are not. The jewelry industry is quite destructive to the environment—a natural diamond must be obtained through mining, which causes severe harm to the surrounding environment and results in significant amounts of carbon emissions.
Agape Diamonds is among one of the companies in the jewelry industry that is moving away from the use of natural diamonds and is instead focusing on creating diamonds in a lab. Agape Diamonds relies on labs to create high-quality jewelry that replicates the natural diamond. The move to lab-created diamonds is beneficial to the environment, as it eliminates the destruction caused by mining. This is important to keep in mind if you’re looking to gift an engagement ring or other jewelry for the holidays. You can learn more about Agape Diamonds and their lab-created diamonds in this Agape Diamonds review.
3. Use Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap
Disposable gift wrap is extremely harmful to the environment—once it’s ripped off a gift it’s thrown right into the garbage. You can help eliminate this problem in a few different ways. First, you can recycle old gift bags you’ve received by saving them and reusing them for other gifts. This helps prevent these bags from being unnecessarily discarded.
While this is a practical and increasingly popular way of wrapping gifts, you can be even more eco-friendly by using either biodegradable wrapping or cloth wrapping. Any of these options can help ensure that you’re being eco-friendly during the holidays.
4. Shop Local
Shopping local will help decrease the distance you drive and how much time you spend traveling, thus decreasing your fossil fuel emissions. If you have shops within walking or biking distance from your house, it is a great idea to take advantage of them for your holiday shopping.
In addition to shopping locally being better for the environment, you’ll typically experience a much better customer service experience, as local store owners are more appreciative of your business. While the holidays take place during the winter months, if you live in a warm area like Tampa, then shopping local is made even easier as the weather is nice and walking outside is enjoyable. However, regardless of where you live, it’s important to be mindful of shopping locally to decrease your carbon footprint.