Sustainability during the holidays? That doesn’t exactly melt in your mouth does it? It may be the ultimate oxymoron, you know, like “midget basketball”. But here’s the thing—it really is a thing! That’s because corporate social responsibility now includes environmental impact awareness and sustainability!
The bad wrap on waste
During the holidays this bad wrap is well deserved! Says who? Well, here’s what moveforhunger.org has to say about our shopping sprees: “Each year, about 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper end up in landﬁlls.”
And what about our holiday bashes? Www.forbes.com quotes The Green Business Bureau: “A typical event attendee is estimated to generate 4.17 pounds of waste per day, of which 85% is said to end up in landﬁlls.”
And from www.thesimplicityhabit.com, “The average American produces 35 pounds of trash per week. During the holidays, that number rises to 43.75 pounds per person per week…..With a population of 330 million people, that equated to 2,887,500,000 more pounds of garbage generated each week during the holidays relative to the rest of the year.” And as for our holiday decor, like artiﬁcial trees, wreaths, and lights—all of that ﬂeeting beauty winds up in landﬁlls as well.
And lo the returning nightmare of gift returns
According to www.thesimplicityhabit.com, the environmental impact from this simple errand is staggering! “Returning items may seem like a logical way to deal with unwanted holiday oﬀerings, but this option is associated with signiﬁcant environmental consequences.
- This shipping process emits around 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.
- E-commerce returns produce 14% more wast than in-store ones.
- 5.8 billion pounds of returned inventory end up in a landfill each year.
The remix: sustainability and holiday cheer
While we’re honoring all of our favorite traditions and decking our halls with boughs of holly, let’s not neglect our responsibility to adopt some new traditions that support sustainability during the holidays.
Let’s start with those gifts. If you give from your heart, your gifts will last forever! Here’s how:
- Knit or crochet a homemade treasure like a scarf or mittens.
- Bake mouthwatering pies, cookies, and cakes.
- Design personalized jewelry or stationery.
- If you want to light up the life of a coworker, make or buy holiday candles made of beeswax or soy. They’re clean burning and non-toxic.
- Make your invites last forever by sending dazzling digital ones instead of card stock.
- Turn your office happy hour into a virtual soiree. This will economize the cost of booze and snacks. And it may eliminate a lot of drunk driving risks.
- Make your own gift-wrap by recycling the paper draped around ALL of the gifts you get [because you’ve been very good this year, right?]
- Shred tissue paper from your bagged gifts and transform it into confetti for all of your all your other fetes during the year.
- Give experiences instead of physical presents—writing, cooking, or art class tuition; gift certiﬁcates; tickets to a play, an opera, or a concert.
- Direct your contributions to your community by hosting a charitable teambuilding workshop during which your staﬀ will collect and donate food, school supplies, and other resources to those in need.
How to make sustainability a part of your celebration!
Think green! No, not just the trees or the wreaths. Make sustainability the context for all of your holiday activities.
Here are a few ideas:
- If your big event requires an external power source, use a solar or other fuel generator instead of diesel.
- While you’re shopping, look for “green hotels” in which to house your corporate guests and VIPs.
- Consider contracting with “green conscious” caterers who only use plant-based foods and ingredients. Yup! Even your foods and beverages should reﬂect. environmentally conscious business practices. Need a reason? Once again, www.forbes.com quotes The Green Business Bureau: “Waste management can also spur creative ideas for the event and menu. For example, what kind of dishes and ﬂatware and decorations can you use that will limit what ends up in landfill?”
- Make your commitment to the environment visible with recycling stations scattered conveniently throughout your venue. Salvaging and reclaiming opportunities are often out of mind because they’re out of sight.
And how about sustaining your commitment to the environment year round? Make sustainability a part of your oﬃce banter. Plan all of your corporate social responsibility activities around environmental protection. Think about it and talk about it. Our planet is worth it.
Happy Holidays From Magnovo!