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The Waste Reduction Manual: Holiday Edition

PART I

It's a tough season. We totally feel you.

With the flood of sale emails in your inbox, the pressure to buy everyone you know a gift during the holidays can seem unavoidable.

And if you are looking for eco-friendly gift choices this season, it's impossible to not feel overwhelmed! But to help you out, we've put together a guide with a few simple tips that can help to sort through the holiday madness while keeping the environment in mind. 

Tip #0 - Let's identify waste

Waste is described as the excess, unused, or residual material from a process. In our gifting context, it comes in the form of excessive packaging, excessive number of gifts, and excessive returns. 

Gifts and enjoying the seasonal decor are not the root of the issue. It's how we go about accomplishing these things can make all the difference between wasteful and sustainable. 

If there is only one takeaway from this guide, it should be: the least wasteful gift, is the one that is well-loved! Since over 90% of ALL self-storage is found in North America, it shows that all too often we buy stuff that we don't even use. Asking "will they use or want this after a year or two?" can be a great question to figure out whether something is a perfect gift -- and also something that can help reduce waste!

Tip #1 - Lists, lists, lists!

If you love making lists, then this is going to be easy. If you don't, now is definitely the time to give it a try. Pre-planning is the key to reducing all waste.

If we can take an audit of what is already available for gifting around the house, brainstorm on what we can gift other than a physical gift and then finally jot down what you would really need to buy.

We usually start by making a list of everyone we want to gift and then assigning a gift idea to each person. You can even add a dollar amount to dedicate a specific budget for this holiday season on gifting. 

 

There's a few ways to how pre-planning will help you reduce waste. You won't be...

  • buying something you regret and return
  • scrambling last minute to buy a bunch of smaller gifts to compensate
  • be going over your budget

 

Note 1: Try to stick to the list as much as possible and not expand your list to have more people or more gifts than you need. If you must, consider a kind action or a baked good. 

Note 2: Lists can apply for food planning as well! Excessive food is a form of waste and sticking to a plan can help trim the green garbage this year.

 

 Go to <Part II>

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