Sustainability, the Holidays, and You!


By SCA Community Engagement Fellow Hayden Sloan

Halloween officially began the Holiday Season! While we’re celebrating, let’s remember the steps we’ve taken toward sustainability this year. With sweets, gift-giving, and feasting galore, don’t forget to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Keep these principles in mind and commit to one change this year and another for next year.

1. Say No to “fun-sized” candy

It’s the norm now, but all those tiny wrappers aren’t easily recycled (if at all) and do easily become litter (even accidentally). Not fun! For parties, let your guests overindulge on bulk candy. For trick-or-treaters, a bit of strategizing can go a long way. Halloween-themed goodies like pencils or origami bats can save Earth and kids’ teeth.

If you’re reading this after Halloween, despair not! Those candy wrappers can be put to good use in a Bottle Brick, which you might remember from a previous blog post.

2. Cook Less

It may seem counter-intuitive for holidays that generate some of the best left-overs on the planet, but food waste is a serious issue in the US that should be discussed more. Plan to serve less and to eat less. As much as we love to hate that food coma, consider cutting back to avoid waste.

If you still end up with a ton of left-overs, be generous with them. If you have to throw anything out afterwards, make a note of it for your next big gathering so that waste can be avoided.

3. Gift Sustainably.

Who doesn’t love giving and receiving gifts? This year, aim for presents that are long-lasting, useful, and needed. And don’t forget about the gift wrap. At the very least, something that is easily recyclable at the end of its lifetime.

For adults, maybe the newest version of an electronic isn’t necessary this year. For kids, toys entirely made of plastic can be avoided, especially flimsy ones! Clothing is a popular choice for holiday gift-giving. Instead of cheap polyester that causes microfiber pollution, try gifting an item made of natural fibers.

For more gift ideas, check out these resources: Bambeco, GreenMatters, and Life Without Plastic. For anything else, you might be surprised what you can find with a quick Google search plus the word “sustainable” added on.

Check out more articles by author Hayden Sloan.

Student Conservation Association
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