Black Friday is finally here! But don’t think this the only time you can save on #holiday #gifts — the day is only the start of Cyber Week and other retailer promotions. Good Housekeeping is tracking some of the week’s best deals, and CNET offers a shopping widget you can use with your internet browser to make sure you get the best price on millions of items. Don’t forget to shop local on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season, either — shopping local businesses is typically more sustainable and ecofriendly than shipping a gift thousands of miles to your door. #BlackFriday2023
Part of living a #clutter-free lifestyle is to keep only the things you use, wear and otherwise enjoy. But you can eliminate #clutter on the front end, too, by shopping more sustainably — and this is especially important to remember when giving #gifts during the #holiday season.
The supply chain demands huge amounts of resources to get those special somethings delivered to your door. Make an effort to shop smaller local businesses for gifts, a practice that reduces the carbon footprint of whatever you buy. Or exercise your creativity to make some of your gifts rather than buying mass-marketed products.
Gifts don’t have to take a physical form at all, says Sustainability Victoria. You can give an experience such as a massage or facial, a cooking class, a yoga session or a dinner out rather than a product. Or you can make a charitable #donation in a person’s name; whatever you choose, chances are good that someone on your gift list doesn’t need more #stuff.
You can also shop the local #thrift stores — many of which supplied by generous #donations to ClothingDonations.org. “Upcycling” gifts can save money and keep more quality goods out of landfills.
“Buying secondhand clothing helps preserve the earth’s natural resources and prevents the additional pollution created by producing new garments,” Maryville University says. “Thrift stores provide shoppers with excellent bargains [and] often sell nearly new clothing alongside unique vintage pieces.”
Gift wrapping is one of the most wasteful aspects of holiday giving. Substitute newspaper and reusable packaging such as bags, baskets and tins for single-use wrapping paper, California Environmental Voters suggests. And try to buy gifts that are packaged in sustainable materials such as bamboo, recycled plastic and biodegradable paperboard rather than plastic clamshells.
Finally, be intentional about gifting and perform your due diligence, Bloom & Spark says. Figure out which businesses follow sustainable practices and how far your purchases need to travel to get a spot under the tree. Consider your giftees’ priorities, too; nobody wants another gewgaw that they don’t know what to do with. With a little forethought, you can reduce the environmental impact of giving — and make your home environment more clutter-free, too!
Make a casual #cookout more #sustainable by using accessories such as compostable paper plates and bamboo cutlery and reusable linen or cotton napkins, Martha Stewart suggests. Another idea to make the event more #ecofriendly is to serve low-impact foodstuffs such as chicken, fish and vegetables rather than beef, says Move for Hunger, and use a gas grill to reduce carbon emissions. Save leftovers to avoid food waste, make recycling easy for guests by labeling waste bins and compost food scraps to enrich your soil at a later date. #CasualCookout
Earth Day 2023 is Saturday, April 22 — the 53rd edition of the annual celebration of Earth and its ecology. Why do we have such an observance? Because the human race has had the biggest impact on the planet, and we are the only species able to adjust our behavior as its stewards.
As we observe Earth Day, we must remember that the climate is in crisis. There’s no use denying it: While shifts in #climate have occurred naturally in the past, the success of a species that’s now over 8 billion strong is accelerating climate change.
We are nearing or beyond a tipping point where we can no longer expect to avert all serious problems. But individual and collective action can still mitigate disaster and lead to a more sustainable future.
One step everyone can take is to dress in a more sustainable way. Due to “fast fashion” — the cheap, trendy and basically disposable #clothing most of us buy and wear — people now have more garments than ever before and use them for shorter periods of time.
The apparel industry is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions equal to Germany, France and the U.K. combined, according to EarthDay.org, and it could account for more 26% of emissions worldwide by 2050. Just washing all of those clothes is poisoning waterways with microplastics.
Recycling is minimal. “And while there are innovative technologies that can break down the fabric of used garments to make new clothing, many await business investment to scale their systems to the colossal size necessary,” the site says.
You can spearhead #reuse, however, by scheduling a free #pickup and #donating your lightly used clothing to ClothingDonations.org. Once you’ve #decluttered, apply one simple principle of #sustainability to your wardrobe: Buy fewer items and make sure that the ones you buy are made to last.
As consolation, remember that you can spend a little more on #garments you’ll use for several years. These steps — reduction and reuse — are two tiny, personal steps toward #sustainability, but if enough people perform them, it can have a positive impact on the Earth.
For more ideas on creating positive change to benefit the environment and a listing of Earth Day observances nationwide, visit EarthDay.org.
You’ve got a dilemma: You want to give gifts that your friends and family will love during the holiday season, but you want to do so without creating undue environmental impact — not such an easy task in today’s global economy.
Mass-market merchandise requires raw materials — petroleum products, rare-earth minerals and so on — that are often toxic to extract. Manufacturing byproducts and product packaging go into landfills and oceans, where they can last thousands of years.
What’s more, even things that break down or recycle easily often travel long distances to get to your front door, using fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources. So even if you buy imported foods for the holiday feast, you add more carbon to the atmosphere.
But there are ways to at least minimize your impact during the #holidays:
1. Support small, local businesses. The closer you are to the product’s source, the less fuel it takes to get to you. Locally grown foodstuffs and handmade items — that one-of-a-kind scarf from the craft fair, for example — have minimal environmental impact and are usually better than anything you can find at a big-box store.
2. Shop sustainable businesses. Businesses that pledge to recycle, use #sustainable materials, plant trees and offset carbon emissions are easier on the environment; just be wary of claims that seem too good to be true. “Fast fashion” brands are some of the worst for creating trash.
3. Give an experience. Tickets to the movies, a local play or concert; a restaurant meal; or gift certificate to a yoga session, spa or salon make great gifts that don’t require a lot of sweatshop labor or create extra greenhouse gases.
4. Shop the thrift. Giving used goods a second chance is a great way to keep lots of clothing and household items out of landfills while saving money. Bonus? Buy from a #thrift shop supplied by #donations to ClothingDonations.org, and you’ll help fund veterans programs.
5. Donate. #Charitable organizations need help on Giving Tuesday and throughout the year. Choose a cause that aligns with your giftee’s goals and #give in their name. It won’t be the same as unwrapping the latest air fryer or smart speaker, but still makes a thoughtful #gift.
#Giving can be its own reward — especially if you shop #sustainably.