Start Planning Now for a Waste-Free Holiday Season!
If your goal for the gift-giving season this year is to drastically cut down on the waste you cultivate — or even if you have a slight interest in reducing your holiday waste — you’d be smart to sit down and do a bit of planning right now.
True, we are still in the first week of fall. But don’t worry, this doesn’t require any Christmas carols! There’s just a little bit of forethought that you can exercise now to make your whole holiday season less stressful, less expensive and less wasteful.
To Do As Soon As Possible:
Do a little reconnaissance work. What have your loved ones mentioned that they like, or that they want to do? Make a list. Buying gifts that someone doesn’t want or need just for the sake of giving a gift is inherently wasteful. Plan ahead, if possible, to make sure you're not buying items that will soon be relegated to a spare room, or regifted (or worse, thrown in the garbage).
To Do in October
(or, Step Two if October Has Already Passed)
Make a gift list. With a list of your gift recipients in hand, check out some zero waste gift ideas, like these ones from Sustainable Jungle, these from Polly Barks or these ones from Zero Waste Nerd. You can also simply browse through our Zero Waste section online or in the store to get some ideas for yourself.
Plan any handmade gifts and start gathering supplies. Making as many of your gifts as possible is a great option for keeping your waste output low, because you have control over the source of your materials (you can buy in bulk; repurpose; or even incorporate thrift store purchases), and over the packaging (or lack thereof) of the finished product. Looking for ideas for handmade gifts? This list from The Zero Waste Chef is organized by timeline — ie. you can choose based on how much time is left until Christmas! We also list a variety of simple but sure-to-please handmade gifts on our blog. Once you have decided what you're making, take stock of which supplies you already have on hand and what you need. Knowing what you need will allow you to gather the needed materials, stress-free.
Create a gift wrapping resource centre and start adding to it now. Instead of heading out to the store for rolls of paper on December 15, keep a container of reusable and repurposable gift wrapping supplies that you can add to at any time.
What to put in:
- tins - from other gifts, or from general packaging. Collage branded tins and cover with mod podge, and they can be used again and again.
- ribbon - any type
- paper - posters, wrapping paper; brown paper; maps
- chip bags with silver interior (wash well)
- cloth and paper bags
- natural pieces - dried flowers, pinecones, feathers, etc
- pieces of cloth - I like to collect fancy scarves for furoshiki-style wrapping.
- nice jars.
Need some low-waste gift wrapping ideas? Check out our guest blog post from last year on the Growing Co. blog.
To Do in November
(or, Step Three if November Has Already Passed)
Watch for deals on experience gifts. Thinking of buying someone theatre tickets; an amusement park membership; zoo or science centre membership; or tickets to an attraction or event? Take advantage of early bird pricing on memberships for next year! If you know specifically what you're looking for, keep an eye on those organizations so you don't miss any sales.
Propagate some plants into repurposed, handmade or thrift-store acquired pots. If you've got a green thumb, and some plants you can propagate, this is a really nice gift idea. Repurpose your pots for a truly zero waste gift!