Year Ender 2022: Environment-friendly New Year’s eve party

The holiday season is here, and in many parts of the world, that means shopping, shopping, shopping. However, this dizzying consumerism is harming the planet. Excessive purchases are part of an unsustainable consumer culture that is fueling a triple planetary crisis of climate change, loss of nature and biodiversity, and pollution and waste.

1. Homemade or recycled gifts

A hand decorates cookies
Homemade gifts not only win hearts, but can keep Christmas traditions alive. Photo: Pixabay

To reduce consumerism while still giving memorable gifts, allow yourself to unleash your creativity. For example, instead of buying new gifts for your family and friends, consider making something they’re sure to love, like homemade cookies. Or look for gifts that come from sustainable recycled materials or from companies that guarantee them a second life. 

In this way, you would be promoting a circular economy, which focuses on reducing waste and increasing the reuse, recycling and recovery of products and materials.

2. Sustainable fashion

A woman looks at clothing on a rack
Choose sustainable fashion over fast fashion to reduce your carbon footprint. Photo: Pexels

People buy 60% more clothes today than 15 years ago which gives them a useful life of just half the average time. This places a huge and heavy burden on the planet: the fashion industry is the second largest consumer of water and is responsible for between 2% and 8% of global carbon emissions.

If you’re looking to shop for new clothes for your holiday collection or end-of-year parties, there’s the good news that you can choose from a growing number of designers and brands that are committed to adopting sustainable manufacturing and supply chain practices. 

3. Shop and travel locally

A young woman with a fruit stall
Local oranges for sale in a Nigerian market. Photo: Getty Images/Sam Makoji

Buying locally-made products and locally-grown foods come with a host of benefits. It may be cheaper. Help local businesses. And it reduces the distance goods have to travel, which reduces the number of fossil fuels burned during transport.

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4. Second-hand items

Chairs in a thrift shop
Environment-friendly New year, Second-hand items save money and encourage circular economies. Photo: Getty Images/Beeldbewerking

During the holiday season, most retailers lure people in with discounts. Try to resist the temptation of lower prices. Instead, buy unique, second-hand items, and allow unused items to find a new home. Not only does this open up a whole new world of possibilities in creative and unique gifts, but it saves you money and encourages reuse. 

5. Replace disposables with reusable ones

A woman holds a shopping bag.
Environment-friendly New year. Choose recycled or reusable material for gift wrapping and packaging. Photo: Pexels/Sarah Chai

Every minute, the equivalent of a truckload of plastic garbage is dumped into our oceans. Half of all the plastic produced in the world is designed to be used only once and then thrown away. Plastic pollution reduces the ability of ecosystems to adapt to climate change, which directly harms the livelihoods, food production and well-being of millions of people. 

6. Minimize food waste

A woman and a child cook in a kitchen
Environment-friendly New year. Cooking only what you need can help reduce food waste. Photo: Getty Images/Mayur Kakade

When shopping for your holiday meal ingredients, avoid food waste by buying only what you need. One-third of all food produced in the world is wasted each year, approximately 1.3 billion tons. Nearly 570 million tons are lost or wasted inside homes. This waste unnecessarily contributes to biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.

7. Eat foods rich in plants 

Chopping vegetables
Reducing meat consumption is good for the environment and human health. Photo: Pexel/Maarten van den Heuvel

Give yourself the opportunity to start a more plant-rich diet this holiday season. A large number of cultures around the world offer an infinite number of vegetable-based recipes that are nutritious and respectful of the planet.

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