According to a Scottish proverb that dates from the early 1700’s “Willful waste makes woeful want.” More simply put, wise use of resources over the squandering of resources will help you keep your needs in check. Most popularly expressed today as “Waste not, want not,” it appears that – sadly – we haven’t learned much in the last 300 years. At Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, we’re not only dedicated to the protection of our precious natural resources, but we’re also dedicated to educating the public to use our resources wisely. In other words… SIMPLIFY. This holiday season, we encourage you to celebrate simplicity and make it a part of your holidays for years to come. To illustrate what we mean and inspire you to design your own simplified holiday celebration, we’ve compiled a little list that will help take us all from slightly (if unintentionally) naughty to nothing but NICE…
- Practice Portion Control: One of our largest sources of pride is an in-school initiative called Food Waste Warriors. Each year more than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through waste or loss. Food loss often happens between the field and post-harvest at farms, while waste occurs in restaurants, at school and at home. Apply a lot of the same principles we practice through Food Waste Warriors starting this holiday season (and carry them through the New Year.) Become a fan of meal planning and get familiar with serving sizes. Instead of laying out an overextravagant spread at every holiday gathering, prepare and serve enough food to satisfy everyone around your table. In the event that there are left-overs, plan to consume them before you have no choice but to throw them away.
- Take Advantage of BOGO to Benefit Families in Need: This time of year, a lot of grocery stores feature buy one, get one free specials. Consider doubling up on the nonperishable items you buy for your family and donating them to a local pantry. If you have children, make them a part of the purchase and packaging of those items. You can then drop them off to the food pantry together or pop by the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville to take part in the Festival of Trees. GC&B is proud to be part of this imaginative charitable event in which you cast your vote for your favorite decorated Christmas tree by placing non-perishable food items (or an unwrapped toy) beneath its boughs. Be sure to let your child(ren) know what a difference those items will make for families in need this holiday season. It’s a wonderful teachable moment that can become a beloved family tradition.
- Get Creative with Your Gift Giving: Gift giving can be a challenge. Particularly for those people who “have everything.” Instead of just buying “STUFF” that you have no idea how they will be received by the recipient – dig deep and get creative. Make a list of their interests and find tools that they can use, plan experiences they will enjoy or make something you believe they might cherish. When you do go shopping, try to shop local. Not only will this limit your drive time to and from your destination, but you will also be supporting local retailers and family-owned-and-operated businesses.
- It’s a Wrap: Since you’re getting creative with your gift giving, save a little bit of that creativity for your gift wrapping. If you get the newspaper or opt for paper bags at the grocery store, consider using them to wrap your gifts. You may also want to invest in reusable gift bags that you can use year after year OR your gift recipient will pass it on to someone next year and they’ll pass it on to someone the following year.
- Limit Travel if Possible: ‘Tis the season for travel – whether spending time with relatives or escaping to sunnier shores and warmer weather. But – like it or not – travel can have a negative impact on the environment. By 2035, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts a rise in global air passengers to 7.2 billion annually. Without action, emissions from increased air travel will triple by 2050. According to ThoughtCo.com, “In assessing the global warming impact of a trip from Philadelphia to Boston (about 300 miles), the environmental news website Grist.org calculates that driving would generate about 104 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2)—a leading greenhouse gas—per typical medium-sized car (regardless of the number of passengers) while flying on a commercial jet would produce some 184 kilograms of CO2 per passenger.” If travel is unavoidable, explore whether bus or train travel is a viable option to your destination. Both serve as the ultimate form of carpooling.
If you have other ideas of ways to simplify this holiday season, we’d love to hear them! Leave them in the comments below or send them our way at firstname.lastname@example.org. We might just share them on our social media pages! For other great eco-focused, holiday-related tips, be sure to check out Dreaming of a Green Christmas in Gwinnett; Rejoice, Recycle, Reduce and Reuse During the Holidays; Top Ten Tips for a Green, Clean and Beautiful Holiday Season; and Five Fabulous Ways Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Can Help You Make the Holidays a Little Eco-MErrier.