The Environmental Impact of the Holidays

The Environmental Impact of the Holidays

It’s finally December, which means it's officially time for festive chaos. Chances are, your to-do list is looking like a CVS receipt these days. With cookies to bake, family to see, projects to finish, and gifts to buy, a lot can go unnoticed this time of year. And while it’s all done in the name of fun and cheer, it can leave a pretty intense mark on the environment. In fact, the holidays leave one of the biggest carbon footprints of the entire year. 

Research shows that each person produces an additional 1,400 lbs of CO2 emissions during the holiday season. That’s equivalent to burning an additional 70 gallons of gas in your car! That adds up to a significant impact on the planet, sadly making the Most Wonderful Time of Year not quite as wonderful. 

Here at NOTES®, we’re all about making small changes that create a big impact over time. Here are some common reasons carbon emissions increase during the holidays to be aware of, and how to combat them:

Decorations and Lighting

Inflatable snowmen and twinkling lights are a really fun part of the season, but they guzzle energy like your uncle guzzles eggnog. LED lights are the perfect compromise; they’re basically the kale of holiday decor. This will keep your energy use (not to mention energy cost!) down while still bringing the holiday magic. Win-win. 

Gift Wrapping and Packaging

Remember when your parents would lug huge bags of trash out of the living room after Christmas morning? It all went somewhere, and there’s a good chance a lot of it wasn’t recyclable. Wrapping paper and gift packages coated in plastic, glitter, and other materials often keeps gifting waste from being recycled. Choosing gift packaging without all of the extra materials will keep your pile of wrapping paper from overstaying its welcome on the planet. 

Food Waste

Have you ever thrown out a Mount Everest of mashed potatoes after a holiday meal? You’re not alone. 30-40% of all landfills are full of food waste, which produces a significant amount of greenhouse gas as it rots. Not only is second-guessing the amount of food you’re preparing going to save you money, it's going to keep unnecessary waste from entering our landfills and causing more harm to the environment. 

Travel-Related Emissions

If only we could dash through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. Instead, the amount of increased travel during the holidays leaves a massive carbon footprint. And it's not just people trying to get home for the holiday – those extra gift deliveries often make a trip across the ocean before ending up on your doorstep. By the time they’ve flown from their manufacturer and driven to your destination for delivery, even the smallest gift can contribute to this huge problem. Buying from stores, carpooling, and using public transit are just a few ways you can help offset holiday travel emissions.

Recognizing how this time of year leaves a massive mark on the environment can be a great catalyst for changes that you’ll want to take into 2024. The decorations, garbage bags, food waste, and extra traffic can serve as reminders of how easy it is to harm the planet with things that we do every single day. If you’re looking to incorporate some more sustainable practices into your life, the holiday season is a great time to start! 

And if you’re looking forward to enjoying some festive home fragrances while you’re snuggled up by the fire, NOTES® Candles is a great option!

Our refillable candle vessels help keep unnecessary glass from ending up in landfills, without compromising on high-quality fragrances that fill your entire home. It’s the perfect small shift you can make to produce less waste this season!

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