A red Christmas ornament laying in the snow while snow is falling

Holiday Shopping Tips

While the holidays are often considered the most wonderful time of the year, they also take a toll on your wallets and the environment. But do not worry, there are plenty of ways to avoid breaking the bank this holiday season and to lessen your impact on the environment.

Shopping

The holidays can be a very costly time of the year for everyone. Not only do people exchange gifts, they also cook many family meals. And the price tag and environmental costs of these add up quickly. Here are some helpful tips you can use to save some money and help the environment:

  • Shop on a budget and plan your shopping – you can get awesome deals throughout the year that can be paid off slowly rather than purchasing everything at once.
  • Use a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange instead of buying a gift for every single person.
  • Try shopping for deals online, but be sure to keep these reminders in mind…
    • Don’t opt for next- or same-day delivery: Although this method might seem more efficient, it makes it harder for delivery firms to combine shipments to specific neighborhoods. In other words, more deliveries and more emissions.
    • Always opt for the eco-friendly packaging option: Believe it or not, these options exist, and it’s worth the few extra dollars to know you’re making a small difference.
    • Avoid impulse buys: Ask yourself this simple question every time you want to click “add to cart”: Do I really need this?
Over head view of a few shopping bags full of new items.

Budget out your shopping and stick to your list in order to limit compulsive buying.

Food

The holidays are the perfect time to come together and do what humans have always loved to do: eat. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s however, household waste increases by 25% and lot of that is food we did not eat. It does not have to be this way though; there are a few things you can do to remove some of that extra waste:

  • Check pantry before going to the store/market and stick to the list.
  • Try and make meals with ingredients already in your refrigerator instead of buying all new ingredients for a meal.
  • Freeze leftovers if you will not eat them in the next few days – but be sure to label and date them!
  • 25% of all freshwater we consume goes to produce food we throw away – try cutting back on meat consumption (a 1/4lb burger requires 460 gallons of water to produce!)

    Table set up for family dinner with drinks, plates, candles, and nice decor.

    Holidays are a great time to enjoy family and food. Try freezing leftovers so you can cut back on waste and save money.

Holiday Waste

Not only do we increase food waste during the holidays, we increase our paper and plastic waste as well. An estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the United States, enough to fill a football field 10 stories high. Half of the paper America consumes is used to wrap and decorate consumer products and some 33 million live Christmas trees are sold each year in North America. Here are some suggestions on how to cut back on waste this holiday season:

  • Send electronic holiday cards or reuse old materials such as newspapers, magazines, and junk mail to create a unique card.
  • Try using cloth ribbons or create your own ribbons out of old fabrics and materials. Rewash them for continued use.
  • Buy a potted Christmas tree that can be replanted or turn your tree into mulch for your yard after the holidays.

These are just some tips to help you save some money and cut back on waste this holiday season.

 

A to Z Recycling Guide:

http://www.pinellascounty.org/solidwaste/getridofit/default.htm

More sustainability tips:

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topics/environment/sustainableliving.html

Check out what is in season when planning your holiday meals:

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Marketing-and-Development/Consumer-Resources/Buy-Fresh-From-Florida/Crops-in-Season