Nine tips for a zero-waste holiday season

Dec 14, 2018 by Énergir in Community
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In 2018, many Quebecers have gone zero-waste, which is certainly a step in the right direction! In addition to changes to your daily routine, there are a number of eco-friendly tips you can apply to the holidays, whether you plan on having a traditional or minimalist celebration.

Between the Christmas tree, presents, decorations and food, ’tis the season for major consumption, and our choices have a huge impact on the environment. The good news is that just a few small changes can make a big difference.

Here are nine ideas to help you make zero-waste choices and add a minimalist touch to your holidays. No need to replace your family traditions—simply choose the alternatives that work for you. You’re sure to find a few that will please everyone.

After all, the best gift we can give our children is a healthy planet.

1.Wrap your gifts with paper you have on hand

Before you spring for a roll of wrapping paper in one of this year’s trendy designs, take stock of what you already have. You can also use newspaper, sheet music you’ve already printed to learn your Christmas carols, or butcher paper decorated with stickers or ink stamps.

2.Opt to exchange recycled gifts

Avoid crowded shopping malls by regifting items that you received during the year but haven’t used. (If they’re still in their original packaging, be discreet about it!) The trick is to set them aside in a corner of the house so you can grab a gift when you need it. It could be that bottle of wine a friend gave you that isn’t to your taste, that candle whose scent someone else might like better, or that assortment of fancy teas you won in an office draw.

3.Opt for fabric

It’s common in Japan to wrap gifts using furoshiki, or a piece of decorative fabric. Take a cue from this art by wrapping all of your gifts in reusable fabric. The wrapping can even be part of the gift. You can use a tablecloth, a length of silk or a piece of cloth meant for a small sewing project, which you can give along with the instructions.

4.Plan ahead for leftovers

Ask your guests to bring containers to take home any leftovers. This way, you avoid buying plastic containers and minimize food waste at the same time. If you plan for a lot of guests and some of the dishes don’t get served (such as at a business buffet), consider giving them to a soup kitchen or an organization that feeds the homeless.

5.Compost what remains of your holiday feast

To make the most of your garbage, set up a small bin or a compost bag in the kitchen, where it’s accessible to everyone. That way, your guests can scrape their salad plates and get rid of their neglected pieces of fruitcake. It’s also a great opportunity to teach children how to compost by asking them to toss in the peels from the clementines they devoured while watching Elf!

6.Go on a retro treasure hunt

Instead of buying new items, make it a rule to track down one-of-a-kind gifts at second-hand stores, flea markets and vintage shops. These can include jewelry, a lamp, an old‑fashioned radio or any other piece that could be reused and has enough flair and originality to make for a nice Christmas present. Your offering will definitely stand out!

7.Use Grandma’s dishes

Having people over? Break out the good china and silverware you inherited from your grandparents that collects dust in the dining room buffet the rest of the year. It’s their turn to shine! Sure, you’ll need to wash them, but compared to disposable dishes, they’re gentle on the environment and don’t cause pollution. Don’t forget the crystal punch bowl!

8.Make your own decorations

Looking to buy less plastic or simplify your decorations? Set aside a day to create them yourself. In fact, dried orange garland is all the rage this year. For instructions on how to make it, visit You can also string popcorn and hang it on the tree with pine cones. In the spirit of simplicity, opt for a minimalist tree by simply scattering it with tiny white lights.

9.Make a donation

There are a number of charities that could use your help during the holidays. These organizations assist those suffering from loneliness, poverty and isolation. A small donation will make a world a difference for their holiday. Even better, it won’t leave a carbon footprint.

Dans ce cas, la phrase se lirait comme suit : For instructions on how to make it, visit the Free People blog.