Reduce Waste This Holiday Season

Monochrome photo of surfer heading over a sandy hill

The holidays can be a time of excess: heaps of food, piles of wrapping paper, gifts galore. Amidst all of the holiday commotion, there are a few mindful yet simple ways we can minimize waste.

1. Get Creative With Your Wrapping Paper

Nontraditional methods of wrapping gifts can look like you got the idea straight off of Pinterest (you crafty geneous you). Use old paper bags, maps, newspapers and even fabrics instead of new wrapping paper. Mason jars are a great way to gift cards or small accessories. Just slap a ribbon on it! Take it a step further and substitute the plastic bows and ribbons for biodegradable raffia or twine.

When you do encounter regular wrapping paper this holiday season, try carefully unwrapping your gifts so the paper can be reused for the next holiday season.

2. Prepare Your Holiday Meals Mindfully

Cooking for the holidays is tough because we all tend to worry that there might not be enough food to go around. Sometimes, ‘the more the merrier’ mindset takes hold and there are leftovers for days and days! Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping someone gets to what’s left in the fridge before it goes bad, make plates for homeless shelters.

Pro tip: skip out on those paper plates. Instead, serve your meal with plates, glasses, and cutlery that can be washed and reused. It may be more of a hassle but you can get everyone to chip in for a portion of the clean up so nobody is stuck with everything on their own.

3. Watch Your Energy Consumption

Help conserve energy by turning off your holiday lights when you go to bed. It’s a simple way to make a difference for the environment and on your bank account.

4. What To Do With All Those Gifts

Make a handmade gift! There is nothing more special than something crafted by hand—it shows the receiver that you took time and effort to create something unique. A collage of photos, a re-purposed old frame, or even homemade cookies are good places to start.

We're big fans of gifting experiences. Instead of more stuff (we all have enough stuff, am I right?), give the gift of a unique, mind-opening, healthy experience -- vegan cooking classes, a massage, a meditation retreat, surfing lessons, or a rock concert.

Pro tip: You can also donate items in order to make room for the new things you received over the holidays. Someone will be happy to have what you no longer need. The Salvation Army or Goodwill are good places to start.

Start small. These changes may seem insignificant at first, but they will undoubtedly have an impact.

Mele Kalikimaka from our ohana to yours!

Photo by Willie Kessel