According to a 2013 survey by Pew Research, approximately 92% of Americans say they celebrate Christmas. The same survey revealed that 86% of Americans buy gifts for others as a part of the holiday tradition. Gift-giving is ingrained in our culture, however this behavior can be detrimental to the environment. The EPA states that household waste increases by more than 25% during the holiday season. This equates to about 1 million extra tons of waste diverted to landfills between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Increased consumerism during this time period also accounts for an increase in embodied energy use.
I will be exploring ways to minimize resource use and waste, while maximizing benefits to local economies and ethical businesses.
I have created a personal set of guidelines to follow this season:
- Gifts may not be purchased from “big box” stores
- Gifts should be purchased from local, small businesses
- When possible, gifts should be used or repurposed objects
- Gifts should not contribute to unsustainable behaviors by others
- All wrapping must be sourced sustainably and creatively
- Gifts should not have excessive or unnecessary packaging