Between Thanksgiving and New Year, Americans generate roughly 6 to 10 million extra tons of waste. That's a lot of waste. Between the disposable plates, plastic forks and paper cups, it quickly adds up. But it doesn’t have to. Ditch the single use plastic, and go compostable instead.
Here are 10 ways to reduce your waste - and increase your sustainability points - this holiday season.
- Say NO to Single Use Plastic Silverware. It may be tempting to bust out the plastic forks for this year’s Thanksgiving feast, but don’t. Plastic pollution is a global crisis, with around 8 million metric tons of plastic dumped into the world’s oceans every year. That’s the equivalent of pouring a garbage truck of plastic in the water every minute. Switch your plastic for TwentyFifty compostable forks and spoons. TwentyFifty offers the only truly compostable cutlery out there (read: cutlery that doesn’t require a commercial composter that gets to at least 200 degrees F to break them down) that you can quickly and easily throw in your backyard compost after you feast. In 30 days or less, they’ll have completely disappeared!
- Use Newspaper or Recycled Wrapping Paper. Here’s a startling fact - if every family in America wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. Three! That’s all it takes.
- Shop Local. Try and source all your holiday food from local, organic and sustainable sources - like farms, dairies and grocers in your area. As well as being healthier (and more delicious!), shopping small and local will reduce your carbon footprint by not depleting a lot of natural resources or wasted energy getting it to you.
- Donate Instead. Consider making small donations to environmental causes in your friend’s and family member’s names instead of buying something new for them this year. Not only will you help reduce your consumerism, but you’ll also be supporting some great causes - like these 5 charities fighting to protect our oceans. It makes a great story to share too!
- Send a holiday email, not a card. Each year, 200,000 trees are cut down to make holiday cards, and the energy used to produce, deliver and dispose of them produces unbelievably high gas emissions. Instead of contributing to the chaos, send a thoughtful note or holiday card via email instead. Or, wait until you see the recipient in person!
- Choose Vegetables over Meats. According to carbonfund.org, vegetarians save at least 3,000 pounds of C02 per year compared to meat eaters. If everyone in America switched the Turkey for a vege or vegan option, just think about much we’d save as a nation.
- Buy a Living Tree. Instead of contributing to the piles of Christmas Trees left on the curb a week after the holidays to be added to the landfill, buy a living tree. During the year, you can plant it outside or keep inside as a houseplant if you have the space!
- Read the fine print. Although it’s great companies today are more socially responsible and aware of their environmental footprints that ever before, they can still make it extremely confusing when it comes to compostable vs. recyclable vs. biodegradable packaging. For example, just because the packaging says the product is compostable, doesn’t mean YOU can compost it. It means that in an industrial composting facility—where they are able to break the bio-plastic down into tiny pieces and compost it with very high heat—it will biodegrade or compost. With TwentyFifty, you don’t have to worry about that. Our essentially edible forks and spoons are made out of simple, wholesome ingredients - wheat flour, soy flour, corn flour, and water - which will backyard compost in under ten (10) days. Exactly what you would expect of a plant-based product.
- Ride Share. If you know of other people going to the same holiday party as you, ride share, use public transport or walk/bike. There are 246 million vehicles in the United States, all emitting greenhouse and poisonous gases. If we’re able to cut down the cars on the road, we can help reduce the 333 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually.
- DIY your Decorations. Instead of buying new decorations year after year, make your own! This is also a great way to spend time as a family or with kids, and will leave you with some great memories for years to come.
Happy Holidays from all of us at TwentyFifty!