Plastic is everywhere during the holiday season, plastic trees, plastic gifts, plastic bags from shopping, plastic wrapping, and so much more. Even though I try to avoid plastic I have to say I’m sitting next to our artificial tree. I’m allergic to the real thing and just can’t imagine not having any tree. There are also some plastic ornaments and candy canes wrapped in plastic on the tree. The tree is at least mostly PE plastic which is safer than PVC which most trees are made of, the ornaments are used every year and most are glass, and the candy canes are organic. There are many ways we can reduce the plastic we are consuming this holiday season though.
Use glass, metal, or natural fiber, like wool, ornaments. And use them every year. I see why it would be fun to do different themes each year but you need less stuff to stick with the same theme. Try doing different themes in different rooms instead.
If you aren’t allergic, choose sustainably raised real greenery and trees. If you do need a fake tree look for one that uses mostly or all PE plastic and take good care of it to make it last as long as possible. Also if the tree has any PVC, be sure to vacuum and dust around the tree often and if you have kids tell them not to touch it. PVC contains lead and other toxins. For wreaths you can also look at real grapevine wreaths or make a rag wreath.
Wrap gifts with recycled and recyclable paper, reusable gift bags, scarves, and other eco-friendly materials. There will be more ideas on the blog later this week, so watch for those.
For gifts try to find gifts that contain no or very little plastic. And when shopping for these gifts don’t forget your reusable bags! Plastic bags are causing so many environmental issues. It’s hard to believe something so small could cause so many problems but it’s estimated that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed each year! So those little bags really add up. It’s estimated that a million sea birds and 100,000 animals die from plastic bags and other waste each year. These bags come with a big price.
Taking your own bags helps a lot but sadly so far personal action just isn’t enough, and that’s where regulations come into play. Plastic bag bans are one way we can fight these problems. I don’t think anyone really wants to have to ban things but sometimes we have to when they cause so many problems and plastic bags are causing massive damage. They are even ending up in our food supply because of the animals ingesting them. I don’t think any of us want to be eating plastic bags.
Factory Direct Promos has created a very interesting, interactive map with information about places that have banned plastic bags, are working on it, or have had plastic bag bans fail. It’s a great way to track what is going on with this movement. The map is continuously updated and a great way to inspire us to keep the movement going.
Another suggestion I have for helping fight plastic waste this holiday season is to give Beth Terry’s book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too as a gift. She has even put together a great gift set that includes a signed copy of the book, a Bag It DVD, and a beautiful cloth gift bag. It would make a wonderful gift for anyone on your list that is interested in the environment. Beth’s book is great, and I’m not just saying that because she included me. I truly enjoyed it and learned a lot. Bag It is also a great documentary that I really enjoyed as well.
What are your plastic-free tips for the holidays? Do you support plastic bag bans or taxes? Share your thoughts below.
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