TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Being sustainable is possible during the holiday season, but it can be hard especially when it comes to gifts.
The City of Topeka Sustainability Advisory Board says it’s doable. It’s a group that helps the city be a little more green.
Here’s what one member, Michaela Saunders, recommends: First, think of the wrapping paper you buy. Look for paper that is plain and without glitter, a design, or shine because those can’t be recycled.
Saunders said looking for alternatives to wrap your things in, like boxes, and glass jars for smaller things, that can be used any time of year. Even a throw can be used as wrapping paper. Baskets can come in handy when it comes to gifts as they can carry more than one thing, and be used around the house after the holidays.
Aluminum foil can also be your new wrapping alternative since it can be recycled. Just make sure it is clean of food or food residue.
“I’ve wrapped things in aluminum foil before,” Saunders said. “And then when you’re done with it, if you put it into a ball, if it’s a ball about the size of a tennis ball or a softball, that can be recycled. Because that’s big enough that it won’t get caught in the machine.”
When it comes to bags, craft paper is a good solution since it’s easy to recycle.
Christmas trees and lights can also be more sustainable. Saunders says LED lights are a great solution, as they will cut down on energy waste. Using a timer for the lights and decorations can help keep the light bill lower. Just set it to the time you want them to be on and off.
Saunders said while the season is about caring for people, it can be a time to still care for the earth.
“You know that part in Home Alone, ‘I won’t forget to remember you’, right?” Saunders said. “I feel like that’s kind of what we should all do with the environment. We know it’s there, we just don’t always think about how we can affect it.”
The last suggestion Saunders recommends for a sustainable Christmas, getting a gift that can be turned into a memory. Vacations, memberships to a museum, etc. can be an easy way to be sustainable without wasting.
Stanford University found Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Extra waste can amount to 25 million tons of garbage.