Use Less Plastics This Holiday Season

How to Use Less Plastic This Holiday Season

It’s easy to tick the boxes of conscientious living when you’re in your normal routine. It’s rare to forget your reusable bags or ask for a paper straw when you’re in the habit. But the holidays throw everything off. As we’re now in the thick of family celebrations, it can be a lot harder to find sustainable products and make mindful choices. After all, how many packs of ornaments have you seen that aren’t packed in layers of plastic? It’s tricky. But if you’re making an effort, it is possible to be less wasteful and use less plastic.

The team at FiveADRIFT put our heads together to consider what we could offer up that’s doable (after all, you’re busy) and truly effective (not just a gesture). Here’s what we came up with, and we sincerely hope it helps:

Make a ‘Don’t Buy’ Commitment for Some Categories

The holidays are a wild, open free-for-all for buying new things. There is no social media platform safe from the barrage of ads telling you what you must have and what you must give the people you love. And gifts are a touching way to convey affection and care, so we don’t want to say, “don’t buy new things.” There are only so many handmade products even the craft-savants among us can produce. 

So, here’s a balanced option: make a “don’t buy” commitment for some categories. Maybe you commit to buying no new holiday decorations, or commit with your partner to not exchange new gifts. You don’t have to opt out of traditions, but modify some slightly in favor of shared experiences or moments that matter. This is a journey, after all, and we think this small but meaningful commitment is a step in the right direction. 

Ditch the Plastic Extras

Every Amazon box you pop open, every crystal ornament you give, everything you buy will be wrapped in layers upon layers of plastic. But who among us hasn’t panic-bought something for 24-hour delivery when our kid casually mentions they can’t live without it? 

We aren’t here to judge, but to say: if you already know you’ll be handling or generating more waste, be that much more careful about everything else. For instance, Mylar (plastic film coated with aluminum) wrapping paper and bows is easily swapped with recyclable options. Use cloth with a cluster of holly berries. Decorate with actual popcorn strings or evergreen plants. Think vintage if that helps. It’s beautiful, and it’s better for the earth.

Monitor Food (and Meal Serving) Waste

Whether your family is a traditional four-course with turkey bunch or a takeout on Christmas Eve gang, pay attention to the waste around meals. This starts with foregoing the plastic utensils, plates, cups, and water bottles. 

If you don’t have forty forks on hand (who does?), you can buy “vintage” ones at a used goods store. More restaurants these days are savvy about whether their food packaging is recyclable. If you’re eating out more, research the ones that are doing the right thing, and give them your business! We are so extraordinarily fortunate to live in a land of plenty: make choices that give back and are as kind as possible.

Take the Time to do the Trash Right

If you’re hosting or visiting, the hurry and flurry of the holidays are a challenge. It is so easy to stand by with a giant trash bag and throw all of the wrapping or waste away. But this is a dedication moment: it takes a little extra time, but everyone will see the example you set when you deal with extra waste around the holidays. Set up recycle stations next to every trash bin. Collect what you can, break down what you can, recycle every scrap correctly, and throw away only what you must. Doing the right thing is an “all year long” endeavor. It takes a little extra time, but it’s worth it.

Host Beautifully … and Sustainably

When you have a lot of people coming over, you want to pull out all of the stops. But remember your most basic eco-friendly swaps:

- Use bar soaps instead of plastic pumps.

- Keep canvas totes and reusable bags on hand for anyone heading to the store.

- Have extra reusable water bottles available, so no one’s tempted to buy a big package of plastic throwaways.

- Repurpose gifts and, when possible, give experiences instead.

- Give friendly reminders to “turn the lights off” and “don’t let the water run.”

- Use real trees instead of plastic trees.

- Scour thrift stores and secondhand shops for decorations and games, rather than buying new.

- What can be homemade should be homemade.

- Research and patronize local or zero-waste businesses.

At FiveADRIFT, we know that it can be a challenge to bring family and friends along on your journey toward sustainable living. We are here to support you, offering up our beautiful, bohemian printed towels that are produced with zero plastic. We think FiveADRIFT towels are a great gift for this or any season: a perfect, generous, earth-friendly present for the next beach vacation, boat outing, or fun time in the sun. Shop here.

Up Next: Read our blog on Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for the Holidays.

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