Sustainability Tips to Make the Holidays Happier

Yes, the holidays are approaching. They’re so much fun with special meals, time with family, gifts, and decorations. All combined though, the holidays are also a time for a lot of waste. 

To have a more positive impact on the environment this year, we challenge you to make a holiday resolution (yes, before you figure out your New Year’s one) to go greener.

This does not solely mean more pine garlands and mistletoe, but rather tweaking your regular holiday practices just a bit to take them in a more sustainable direction.

Here’s how small changes can make a big difference in reducing waste this holiday season for an even happier December.

Ditch the paper and plastic

Easier said than done right, but when you get right down to it, there’s a lot of paper and plastic that goes into celebrating the holidays that you can easily replace.

  • Refuse plastic bags when shopping and bring your own reusable ones
  • Swap out paper plates for the real thing (or use compostable products)
  • Forgo the tinsel and fake greenery and use real pine and fir decor
  • Get a real tree this Christmas and recycle it after the holidays are over
  • Replace the rolls of wrapping paper for reusable bags, baskets, jars, or even newspaper
  • Ditch the tissue paper and gift bags and wrap presents in another present, like a scarf or blanket
  • Skip printing your holiday cards and send them digitally

With these tips, you can take things down a notch without decreasing the spirit of the holidays at all.

Reconsider your lights

Twinkly holiday lights are the best. Whether they’re going along your mantle, around a tree, or outside your home, pick your string lights carefully.

LED holiday lights use less energy and last longer than traditional string lights. They might cost a little more upfront but will save you money in the long run with less need for replacement.

You can also consider solar-powered LEDs for outside lights and save even more energy. Regardless though, you should always put your lights on a timer so that they aren’t constantly on. Your electric bill (and the environment) will thank you for that one.

Eat locally and organically

Holiday meals do a great job of incorporating in-season food automatically. You most likely have a family recipe that includes foods like sweet potatoes, squash, corn, apples, or pumpkins. When we use food that’s out of season where we live, it travels a long way to get to us. By eating what’s in-season, you reduce the time food is in the road, in a truck that’s putting its tailpipe emissions into the atmosphere. 

Eating what’s grown locally is another way to lessen the travel time for your food and reduce its carbon footprint. And, when you eat organically, the food you’re buying was grown with no harmful chemicals, which is also great for the environment.

Compost your food waste

Whether your whole family comes together or it’s just you and a few special people, the tendency to overcook during the holidays is pretty common. That can lead to a lot of leftover food that you don’t want to have to toss.

To reduce your food waste, ask all your guests to bring an empty reusable plastic container with them. Then, let them pack up some leftovers to take home with them. Anything that’s left will make great leftover meals in your own home, so try to get creative about how you incorporate whatever is remaining.

For all the food scraps that nobody really wants to eat, consider composting the waste. Now is the perfect time to start composting if you haven’t already set up a bin in your backyard. 

Hit the road for the holidays with the right fuel

Traveling within Michigan, or taking a longer road trip for the holidays both start with filling up your tank, and where you do that matters. You can’t control how much carbon your car releases, but you can fuel up in an environmentally-responsible way.

By visiting a SpeedyQ Markets location, you can take advantage of the DRIVE™ program. This program offsets up to 30 percent of each vehicle’s carbon emissions each time you fill up. This is done through investments in certified carbon projects around the world and within Michigan itself.

If you happen to get thirsty while you’re fueling up, don’t worry about grabbing that fountain soda or coffee from SpeedyQ. In addition to offsetting carbon emissions, SpeedyQ Markets offsets 100 percent of the waste generated by hot and cold drink cups bought in-store.

A greener and happier holiday season

Celebrating the holidays with a nod toward greener practices won’t take away from enjoying this special time of year. In fact, it may even make the holidays happier and more meaningful, so what will you try this year when it comes to sustainability?