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November 27, 2017 2 min read

Holiday Waste

Hola, Richard here from TNH Outdoors.

Christmas is a time for family and giving, I have so many fond memories of being surrounded by immediate and extended family…and (of course) the delicious Christmas food. 

But what Christmas does is reinforce the importance of family and last October I became an Uncle for the first time. There are moments in everyone’s life when switches just get flicked and holding George (nephew) for the very first time it was like looking into the future - I believe this is because I have never felt such responsibility before.         

 

 

Now I am not a wordsmith nor do I want to be the Christmas Grinch but I want to talk about giving the greatest gift of all, a brighter future for George. Throughout my years as a practicing environmental scientist and working with communities the greatest impact you can have is by awareness and empowering people with your message.

The world is full of band-aid solutions… for every X you buy, 'we plant a tree.' For the most part (not all) this is a horrible gesture that perpetuates terrible wasteful behaviors and it's why we need “another tree” in the first place… anyway I'm rambling.


Back to Christmas and the gift of awareness, you can start with these facts:


I found these statistics from Stanford University:

  • Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year's holiday period than any other time of year.
  • The extra waste amounts to 25 million tonnes of garbage, or about 1 million extra tonnes per week!

 


The Choices You Make:

  • If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.
  • If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
  • The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high
  • If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

 

Spreading The Message:

The first step is being armed with the facts like the above (or general awareness) and the next step is what I call “courageous conversations” from those who are informed...being you reading this.

So (as a suggestion) you could start by reusing wrapping paper or - slightly controversial - not wrapping the gift at all! This gives you a pretty "shock horror' opportunity to explain to your loved one why you have chosen to do so.

*this image was sourced from a third party*

Just remember: change never happened from just one person... even Jesus had disciples.  

I hope this is food for thought when it comes to your upcoming Christmas and end of season festive celebrations. 

Richard, Co-Founder
TNH Outdoors

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P.S. most gift wrapping is not recyclable, so please check when you purchase.

Sources


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