Seas the Day in December: Give Back to the Environment

For many people, the holiday season ends up generating more waste than other periods of the year. Following these tips will help you keep up your sustainability efforts, many of which can also be helpful throughout the year. Have a happy holiday season!

Eco-Friendly Gifts

Consider giving an environmentally friendly experience rather than a tangible gift. For example, plan a camping trip (for when the weather is nice enough) or a trip to your local aquarium! Research indicates that experiences make people happier than physical things (read the study here).

You could also upcycle some materials you probably have in your home to make unique, thoughtful gifts, like repurposing leather (or faux-leather) belts and purses to make jewelry, or recycling tin cans as herb containers. See lists of more ideas here and here.

If you are wrapping gifts for the holidays, use brown paper bags, magazines, or newspaper that you already have lying around! You won’t have to buy wrapping paper, and the recipient of the gift can recycle the paper after opening it (FYI: regular wrapping paper is not always recyclable). Try decorating the gifts with paper flowers or home-made bows made from old newspaper or magazines, or decorate using stamps made out of old corks! See more paper flowers here. Also, consider switching to digital holiday cards instead of paper ones.

Eat Sustainably

Make the most of your holiday meal this year by keeping it sustainable at every stage of the process! Be sure to think about where your ingredients are coming from and minimize the amount of food scraps and leftovers that go to waste. If you don’t want to keep your leftovers, send them home with guests or donate them, if possible.

One important thing to consider is that production of meat (particularly beef and lamb) is very resource-intensive. Of the common meats, chicken is the best, followed by turkey and pork. Avoid beef and lamb, which have particularly high environmental footprints. Another consideration is regarding local ingredients, which not only help support the local economy but are also often (though not always) more sustainably produced.

Food scraps will probably build up if you are cooking for the holidays. Composting is the best way to dispose of them, but what about using them instead? You might be discarding parts of your produce because you don’t know of a way to use them. Check out the ideas below to make the most of everything in your kitchen! Store scraps in the freezer until you’re able to use them. Find more inspiration here and here.

New Year’s Resolutions

Looking for a New Year’s Resolution that is good for the environment and easy to accomplish? Here are some ideas!

  • Unsubscribe from all of the magazines and other junk mail that goes straight to the recycling bin. To make this less overwhelming, tackle things one at a time as you receive them.

  • Find a sustainable fishing guide and refer to it every time you buy seafood. Check out this list of guides based on country, or the Seafood Watch guide and mobile phone app for the U.S.

  • Begin recycling or composting.

Seas the Day! Please use this information as you wish to spread the ocean conservation message. Each month, we feature a new conservation theme with ways to help so come back regularly for more ocean-helping ideas and tips!

Alexandra Thomsen 02-Dec-2016