Candle surrounded by wreaths and holiday decorations

Holiday Shopping Reminders

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. Here are some reminders to make your holidays more affordable and sustainable.

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 paid off 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?
A setting at the dinner table for a holiday. There are wine glasses, cookies, and a napkin folded on top of a bowl and plate. The decor is holiday themed.

Use this holiday season to experiment with new and sustainable recipes.

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. 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!)
A gift wrapped in white, reused paper with a pine cone and pine leaf as the bow.

Reuse materials for gift wrapping and cards instead of buying something new. This will also be more personal than a store bought card.

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; that is 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.

 

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