Eco Tips: Staying Sustainable This Holiday Season

By Joshua Baker

Happy beginning to the holiday season everyone! Now that we’ve all got Thanksgiving under our belts, the gift-giving holidays are here. It’s that time of year where many of you are ordering gifts or other items online in preparation for the upcoming holidays, I know I probably will! With that in mind, we figured we’d send a couple of related tips your way to help you stay as eco-friendly as possible. So read on for a couple ways to keep sustainability and our planet in mind this holiday season! 

  1. Gift Responsibly: Consider a plug-in such as DoneGood for gift purchasing, which offers an easy way to discover hundreds of eco-friendly and socially responsible brands.  As you shop, search for gifts with reusable or minimal packaging to limit the amount of waste produced. On the blog Conscious by Chloe, the author writes about her favorite Portland vintage and thrift stores. Shopping second-hand is a great way to reduce waste, so check out some of these options. Chloe also suggests gifting your time (even virtually through Zoom) instead of material items and mentions teaching a skill, cooking, or even babysitting for your loved ones, all of which you can mention are redeemable before the next holiday. 
  2. Gift Wrapping: As an alternative to using wrapping paper, try out an environmentally-friendly alternative such as repurposed glass containers, recycled paper, or reusing gift boxes or bags. Keep in mind that most gift wrap can’t be recycled! For more recycling information, turn to your local waste authority or visit Green That Life’s Recycling Resources page.
  3. Recycling vs Garbage: Remember that paper or cardboard envelopes go in recycling and that the following items always go in the garbage: 
    • Plastic-padded mailers: Any envelope that’s lined with bubble wrap always goes into the garbage, even if it’s lined with paper on the exterior or is labeled “biodegradable” or “recyclable”. 
    • Packing peanuts and plastic air packs: Regardless of what they’re made of, both of these items should always go in the trash. 
    • Styrofoam: All Styrofoam™ should go in the trash or should be dropped off at a drop-off recycling location
  4. Save packaging for reuse: Save padded envelopes, packing peanuts, and air packs for reuse to package and protect fragile items. Use plastic padded envelopes as make-shift waterproof laptop protectors. Flatten cardboard boxes and tuck them away for the next time you need to store or mail something. If you don’t think you’ll use them, consider listing them on Craigslist, Buy Nothing Group, or Nextdoor.

We hope that you’ve found one or more tips on this list that you’re excited to try this holiday season! Have any tips come to mind that aren’t on this list? If you have a moment, feel free to send them our way! Simply email We love hearing from our readers and are always excited to learn about new eco friendly tips. We hope everyone has a great rest of the holiday season! Thanks for keeping the planet in mind and above all else, stay safe and healthy out there!


Aspen Caroline