With the holidays comes a great deal of joy and giving…as well as, unfortunately, a great deal of waste. In fact, Stanford University reports that Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and the New Year than any other time of year—amounting to 25 million tons of garbage!
So, how can you reduce waste and still give loved ones gifts to remember? As you shop, keep these three main factors in mind:
- Gift wrap and packaging
- Where you shop
- What you give
Of course, sometimes packaging and gift wrap can be difficult to avoid. In that case, you can search for zero waste packaging or follow steps to dispose of excess waste properly.
Seem like a lot of work? It doesn’t have to be! With a bit of research and close attention to labels, you can give thoughtful presents and support sustainable companies.
Follow these tips to reduce waste and give back to the planet this holiday season.
Consider the Gift Wrap
How can you create your own zero waste packaging? Opt for reusable gift wrap! High-quality wrapping paper and bags can be unwrapped carefully and saved for next year. Or use reusable containers like high-quality boxes, baskets, and tins.
If you need to buy new wrapping paper and gift bags, look for recyclable paper. Bonus points if it’s made from recycled materials!
Feeling creative? Avoid gift wrap and bags altogether. Instead, use pages from magazines, books, old maps, or even newspapers. You can even customize this based on the recipient!
While packing your presents with care, avoid metallics and additives like glitter. Skip the bow or go for a reusable cloth ribbon.
Be Selective in Where You Shop…
Next, consider where and how you shop!
- Shop in-store vs. online: Reduce waste from the packaging and energy spent on shipping gifts to your house. You could even plan it out to get your shopping done in one or two trips and use less fuel.
- Shop local: Support local businesses and ensure fewer products are shipped overseas—again, consuming less energy.
- Support sustainable companies: Buy from zero waste companies and sustainable brands to minimize your environmental impact.
Sure, buying online from big global companies is often convenient. But with some planning, you can get your shopping done efficiently and sustainably.
If you prefer online, look for local companies with e-commerce stores and smaller footprints. (Learn about Izzy’s responsible practices below!)
And in What You Give
Now it’s time to consider what kind of gifts you choose. When you shop sustainable brands, you can give environmentally friendly presents like reusable products or those made from recycled materials.
On the other hand, consider giving experiences. For example, try gifting:
- Tickets to a sporting event, the theater, movies, or a concert
- Excursions or outings (e.g., beach trips, hiking, museums)
- Gift cards to their favorite restaurant or shop
You can always opt for consumable gifts like food, beverages, plants, candles, and soap. Just look closely at their packaging and practices.
Better yet, give a gift made with love! Many of the above could also be homemade, so you’ll know exactly what’s going into them and avoid toxic and non-recyclable products.
Finally, skip the card! If you feel it’s a must, choose one made from recycled materials—or at least simple paper that can be recycled.
Properly Dispose of Excess Waste
As much as you try to reduce waste around the holidays, you may end up with some garbage and recyclables. The important thing is to dispose of them properly and mitigate your impact.
Most wrapping paper, cardboard, and glass can be recycled, so separate them accordingly. Just be sure to break down cardboard boxes so they take up less space in the recycling trucks and require fewer trips. You should also rinse out glass bottles and jars.
Unfortunately, wrapping paper and holiday cards with plastic pieces, glitter, or photo paper often can’t be recycled. While the recycling process can separate small plastic bits here and there, gems from those blingy cards can slip in and reduce a recycled bale’s purity levels. You can always tear off and recycle the plain paper part of a card and throw away the rest.
Izzy’s Zero Waste Packaging & Process
The beauty industry produces 120 billion packaging units annually—and yes, most of that ends up in landfills or oceans. Unfortunately, personal care products rely heavily on plastics. Not great, since only 9% of the world’s plastic has actually been recycled.
That’s why Izzy founder Shannon Goldberg created truly zero waste makeup! Our refillable makeup is reusable, refillable, and sanitary—not to mention high-quality!
How does Izzy’s zero waste packaging work?
We use medical-grade stainless steel (which can be washed and reused more than 10,000 times!) and our patent-pending triple cleansing process to remove old makeup and bacteria.
Did you know plastic can even be sustainable? We use a plant-based plastic resin called POM ECO-B for our wands and applicators, which can be melted and made new.
Ok, but zero waste shipping?
Yep! To reduce waste even further, we did away with cardboard boxes and ship all Izzy products in reusable mailers made from upcycled materials.
How do you ensure zero waste from A to Z?
The antibacterial cleaning process we mentioned above ensures all water is reused, not just dumped into the ocean.
We also keep our supply chain within a 400-mile radius, which gives us the lowest carbon footprint in the beauty industry! Our stainless steel components are manufactured in New York, assembled in Massachusetts, and cleaned and shipped from New Jersey.
And yes, we still manage to create makeup that performs as well as traditional products! Shannon’s goal was to make clean swaps that deliver a luxury experience, which we’ll keep pursuing.
Discover the difference when you try Izzy’s zero waste makeup for yourself and lower your impact—but never your standards.