Celebrating holidays like Halloween, Valentine’s Day and of course Christmas, generates a lot of waste. Holiday-specific decorations are one of the worst culprits, from the plastic they’re often made of to the immense amount we purchase to their innate impermanence. But, there are a lot of changes you can make to the way you decorate this festive season. Here are six ways to find more sustainable decorations and keep your waste at a minimum this year.
Whether a real or a fake tree is more sustainable is hotly debated. If you decide to go with a natural tree, opt for an organic tree purchased as close as possible to where it was grown. A potted one that can then be replanted at the end of the season is even better. If you’re looking for a natural tree that’s a bit different, McQueens Flowers has an amazing one beautifully crafted from dried flowers. If you already have an artificial tree, keep using it. Using it for at least two decades can make it a more sustainable choice than a natural one.
Candles are such an essential item this time of year. But, when they’re made of parrafin wax, which is a petroleum by-product, burning them emits a significant amount of particulate pollution. Opt for candles that are made from eco-friendly beeswax or sustainably-sourced soy or vegetable wax. Look for ones with recyclable or reusable packaging, too.
Wreaths, with all their wiring and plastic (if they’re artificial), can be hugely wasteful and difficult to dispose of. Try making your own wreath from the boughs that you might trim off your tree, or any kind of foliage you find outside. Instead of throwing out old or broken ornaments, use them to make your homemade wreath unique, as well.
As with all of your decorations, keep using the lights you have if they still work. But, if you are looking for new ones, go with LED lights. They use up to 80% less energy, which is good for your wallet and the environment. If you’re putting lights outside, opt for solar-powered lights. Then, set everything on a timer so they’re never left on by mistake.
As mentioned, one of the biggest problems with festive decorations is the fact that we only really use them for a month (maybe two) of the year, and then they’re otherwise irrelevant. If you can find items that aren’t overly Christmas-y and can be left up year round, or used for other holidays, that’s a win. Things like mobiles from Iota Project still have a festive feel, but they are definitely worthy of being left up year round. Same goes for those LED strings of lights, particularly if you’re having an outdoor summer party.
This should be a year-round policy for all shopping, but during this time of year, consider the full life cycle of what you’re buying. Will you be happy to put it up next year, or in five years, or in 10 years? Will it last through the years or fall apart in one or two? Is it recyclable? If the answer is no to any of those questions, perhaps reconsider buying it.
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