Environmindful Monday Tip #4, #5 and #6 (Tips For a No-Waste Holiday)

Here we are again at Environmindful Monday.

This week, with the holidays quickly approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to share a couple/few holiday preparation tips.

In all honestly, this is one big tip split into three parts: Ditch Disposables!

While attending a rather large business dinner earlier this week, it was glaringly obvious to me that it has become way to easy for us to create garbage, particularly at the holidays. It’s no secret that we generate literally tons of trash with gift wrap every year, but the volume of paper and plastic plates, plastic ware, paper and plastic cups and glasses is no better.  It has become commonplace, particularly when having a large gathering to use disposable, well, everything.  What I realized at the dinner I was at was that it didn’t even phase most of the people in the room as to the volume of trash we created in a matter of minutes.  I commented to one person as I carried the pile of heavy-duty plastic plates from my table, that it kills me to throw them away.  She responded with a smile and, “I know!”.  I was briefly relieved to hear that, thinking she understood.  Just a minute later she proceeded to tell me how she brought the same plastic plates for Thanksgiving, had her kids paint hand and foot turkeys on them and then glued another clear plate on top of the first one so the food wouldn’t rest on the paint.  Then she proudly said, “Then we through them all away after dinner!  Simple clean-up!”  I thought I was going to lose my dinner right there on the spot.  My head spun with thoughts of, “Oh, Lord. She used two plates for every person there!”  “She already told me she has three kids, that means she’s training three of them that it’s okay to double your waste for easy clean-up.”  Oh, yes the thoughts carried on, but I’ll stop there.

This post is not meant to rant, rather to encourage everyone who reads it and who forwards it to their friends and family members, who forward it to their friends and family members, to make it a goal to ditch disposable this holiday season (And better yet forever!) and opt, instead, for something reusable both in gift wrapping and in serving ware.

Environmindful Monday Tip #4

  • Rid yourself of wrapping paper and wrap in something re-useful. Instead of buying, wrapping, ripping and tossing wrapping paper, consider using reusable gift bags, scarfs (the wrap becomes part of the gift), burlap, baskets, buckets, flower pots, pots and pans and grocery bags.  Coordinate your container with your gift!
Burlap Bag

Burlap Bag

Trader Joes Bag Gift Wrap

Trader Joe’s Bag Gift Wrap

Chalkboard Painted Grocery Bag

Chalkboard Painted Grocery Bag

Vintage Lidded Pot

Vintage Lidded Pot

Environmindful Monday Tip #5

  • Ditch Disposable! Use “real” dishes, glasses and flatware instead. It doesn’t have to be your finest china, although it could be if you felt so inclined, but by choosing something that lasts over something fast you will help make an impact and minimizing waste whether it’s entertaining for the holidays or everyday dinner.  There are so many options available for this.  If you don’t mind mixing and matching, heading to thrift stores and second-hand stores can be a fun, inexpensive way to come up with dishes and flatware for a few or a crowd.  If you like uniformity, you can etch mismatched glasses, use Sharpies to create a design on dishware and use beading or dip the handles on flatware to create symmetry.  Other inexpensive options to purchase something new are IKEA and Pier1 among other stores.  Oh, and the “I hate washing dishes!” excuse?  Good news!  Studies have found that dishwashers use less water than hand-washing dishes!  Don’t have a dishwasher?  What better way to bond with family and friends over the holidays than conversation in the kitchen after dinner!
Mismatched Plates

Mismatched Plates

Dipped Flatware

Dipped Flatware

Etched Glasses

Etched Glasses

 

Environmindful Monday Tip #6

  • Opt for cloth.  Napkins are another use n’ toss item and just in my own personal observation, often times they get used to wipe a finger or two or mouth once during a meal, then it’s tossed and a fresh one is grabbed for dessert.  Or worse yet, a fresh pile of napkins is placed on a table, never touched during the meal, but the whole pile hits the trash when the meal is over.  Cloth napkins don’t have to be anything fancy.  In fact, it could be anything from a basic white cotton napkin, to Grandma’s old stash, to a crafted napkin from an old dress shirt, to an assortment of colors with something stamped on them. Or use the napkins as placeholders by putting your guests names or a message on them with fabric markers.   Get creative.  Your napkins just might become part of the holiday conversation!
Oxford Napkins

  Oxford Napkins

Tea Towel Napkins

Tea Towel Napkins

Upcycled Denim Napkins

Upcycled Denim Napkins – Just think how cute snowflakes would be on these!

 

Fabric Marker Message Napkins

Fabric Marker Message Napkins

eat drink be merry stamped napkin

eat drink be merry stamped napkin

So there you have it.  Three great tips for a no-waste holiday and a table filled with conversation pieces!

Be mindful.  And remember, no waste = more green space!

Kate

 

 

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