Many of us are familiar with the increase in social gathering that takes place from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, and along with that comes an increase in trash. This holiday season we invite you to consider how your hosting and gifting choices impact the environment. There are many sustainable options to make your celebration more eco-friendly. It’s time to rethink our single-use decorations and tableware and move towards a future of reuse. There are plenty of ways to choose sustainability and still fully enjoy the holidays!

Gift experiences rather than physical items. A season pass to your local park makes a great gift for the outdoor enthusiasts in your life!

Gift second hand items. Shop local and support area thrift stores.

Avoid plastic decorations. And choose decorations that don’t require electricity. Shop thrift stores for decor, too.

Real trees are better for the environment than artificial trees. Artificial trees cause a dramatic increase in carbon emissions to produce and ship them overseas. Around 90% of artificial trees are manufactured in China.

Try to minimize food waste and compost any leftover food scraps. Learn more about composting here.

Donate leftover food to local food banks. Check out the Franklin Community Center Donation Wish List.

Ask guests to bring their own reusable container for leftovers.

Opt for reusable tableware and silverware instead of single-use disposable products.

Wrap gifts in reusable bags or a recyclable material like newspaper or brown paper.

Include plant-based options on your menu. Industrial animal agriculture is a top contributor to global deforestation and climate change.

Get more great tips for sustainable living on our Zero Waste pages