The “three Rs” have been constantly drilled into your head since elementary school — reduce, reuse and recycle. It’s not just because it’s the right thing to do, it’s also because it’s one of the only simple ways everyone can band together and help save the planet. Our world’s natural resources are shrinking at a rapid rate, and to remind us that we need to use less stuff, November 19th is Use Less Stuff Day! The holiday was originally conceived because people have almost 25% more waste throughout the holiday season, and this one day reminds us of the importance of the notion that less is more. Here are five simple ways to create less waste during the holidays and throughout the year.
Give friends non-physical gifts
Sometimes gift shopping is both a stressful and near impossible task. So, instead of shopping for something you think your gift receiver may like, try shopping for something digital! A gift card, although it seems like the easy way out, shows that you took the time to go to the store. It will also suggest that you know your friend/family member/coworker well enough to to know what she likes, and that you want her to have the opportunity to choose the specific gift herself. You can also gift an “experience” such as concert tickets, movie tickets, or even a fun class they’ve always wanted to try out.
Skip the cards
Let’s be real here: do you actually reread the card after you originally receive it? Paper cards may be a symbol of tradition or fun to read when receiving a gift, but in reality they don’t serve much purpose. Instead of giving a card to mark who the gift is for/from, write directly on the gift box or bag. If you still want to honour that tradition of giving holiday cards, try an e-card! There are a variety of different websites that you can use to send some adorable or festive cards to anyone with a computer.
Donate or re-gift unwanted gifts
Don’t you hate it when you receive a gift that totally isn’t your thing but you have no way of returning it to the store? Instead of just throwing the gift out, try re-gifting it to someone you know will love it. You can always add another gift that you’ve purchased to the original gift so you don’t feel like you need to put more effort into the special occasion. If you are truly dead set against re-gifting, but absolutely won’t use the gift, donate it! There are people out there who don’t have the resources to give or receive any gifts at all during the holidays. By donating your gift, you’re not only saving the gift from ending up in a landfill, but you’re also making someone’s Christmas more special.
Bring reusable shopping bags
This is a no-brainer, but plastic shopping bags are not the best for the environment. When doing your everyday shopping or for holiday gifts, bring your reusable shopping bags to cut down on the amount of plastic you accumulate at home. The reusable shopping bags are also sturdier, so they can hold a lot more than plastic bags. Plus, if you buy a reusable bag from a store where you’re buying gifts, you can always use the reusable bag as a gift bag!
Save your leftovers or donate to food banks
Holiday dinners are so good, so why not have it more than once? Once everyone is done stuffing their faces with turkey goodness, don’t throw out the leftovers, keep them! This way, you have lunch/dinner to come home to after tackling the Boxing Day sales, you don’t have to worry about cooking and you can enjoy your time with your family. You can always send some leftovers home with your company as well. If you have leftover non-perishables or packaged foods that didn’t make it to the table, donate it to one of the food banks in your community. There are families out there that can’t afford to make a holiday feast and would appreciate it
Use Less Stuff Day is just one day out of 365. Use this as a stepping point to get in the habit of using less of our Earth’s resources every day to help keep this world clean for the next generation!