When you think of the holiday season, what images come to mind? Delicious meals? Beautifully wrapped gifts? A fully decorated tree? There’s one thing you may not think of: garbage.
From food waste to gift wrapping materials, Americans generate an addition 1 million tons of waste per week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
At the Moonrise, we place a big emphasis on sustainability. As one of the region’s leading eco-friendly hotels, we do everything we can to leave a smaller footprint. We’re here to share a few ideas to help keep your celebrations as green as possible.
More Thoughtful Gifting
How can your gifts be more environmentally friendly? For some, that may mean reevaluating the type of gifts you’re giving. Does the receiver truly need that gift or is it something that may end up gathering dust or at a thrift store? For others, it may make sense to simply exchange fewer gifts overall. Just like the Grinch learned, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!”
For the gifts you do give, consider buying from American-made or eco-friendly brands, or those that focus on sustainability.
When it comes to wrapping those gifts, consider getting creative. Remember that you can recycle wrapping paper that isn’t metallic or has glitter in it. You can also reuse old paper or even DIY your own. If the idea of re-using wrapping paper brings visions of crinkly, crushed-looking gifts to your mind, check out these tips. And try saving and reusing ribbon as you can, too, or simply foregoing it. 38,000 miles of ribbon are discarded each year!
Revise the Menu
When you can, try to buy local and organic. As you prepare food, think about the number of guests who will be eating. We often over-prepare for holiday meals just in case, but that can lead to leftovers that don’t get eaten, ultimately resulting in wasted food. Any food scraps that don’t work well as leftovers (or can’t be frozen) can be composted. We take care to follow eco-friendly practices in our own Green Dining Alliance-certified Eclipse restaurant in St. Louis!
A New Tree Approach
There are lots of options for Christmas trees, and all options can be sustainable in the right situation. Regardless of your tree choice, using LED lights to decorate it will use up to 90 percent less energy than conventional lights.
Try to choose live trees from a local business (one that organically grows its trees if possible). When the holiday is over, check that your area collects trees in the first few weeks post-Christmas. These trees are then used as mulch and for water conservation and weed control.
Some people prefer artificial trees to live trees. Whether due to allergies, apartment restrictions or personal preference, artificial trees can look just as beautiful. But unless these trees are used for 10 or more years, they can negatively affect the environment.
If you haven’t already gotten your tree — or are simply planning for next year — consider getting a potted tree that can be replanted. There may also be places nearby that are planning to be removed for habitat or farm maintenance. See if you could use one of those trees instead.
While these tips are holiday-related, it’s a great goal to be more eco-friendly all year round. This upcoming new year, think about how you and your family can implement new strategies in your daily lives that are environmentally friendly.
At this boutique hotel in St. Louis, we’re always resolved to incorporate sustainable practices into our rooms as well as our unique event spaces and restaurant. From a property-wide recycling program to donating leftover soap to be recycled with the Global Soap Project, we’re trying to make the earth a better place to live with every day. If you’re looking for a green place to stay for the holidays – and one that’s a pet-friendly hotel to boot – book your stay with us.
We hope you have a wonderful — and eco-friendly — holiday season!