5 Sustainable Holiday Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season By Kat Scarlett

5 Sustainable Holiday Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season By Kat Scarlett

It’s the most magical time of the year…but it can also be one of the most wasteful times. A Stanford University study found that Household waste increases by at least 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. All that additional waste – in the form of food, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons – contributes to an additional 1 million tons of trash entering landfills each week during that time frame. That’s a lot of trash! But luckily, with a little bit of consciousness and planning, you can enjoy the holiday season to the fullest without trashing the planet. Let’s dig into 5 easy ways to make this holiday season more sustainable and festive. 


Go green by making sure that your tree is as sustainable as possible. Consider buying a real Christmas tree from a local farm, supporting natural growth, providing habitat for wildlife, and backing local farmers. After the festivities, recycle, return, compost, or repurpose the tree. Another eco-friendly choice is a living Christmas tree, a potted tree that brings the authentic scent of the season. Keep it indoors temporarily, then return it outdoors, reusing it for future holidays or planting it for a more extended lifecycle. If you would like to reuse your tree year after year, invest in a high-quality artificial tree that you can keep and reuse for 5-10 years to minimize environmental impact.


Ditch the cheap plastic holiday decorations and opt for more natural elements instead. Not only is it more sustainable to decorate with genuine pieces like natural pine garlands and dried oranges, but it’s also far more unique than the latest spread at Pottery Barn. I also love finding vintage holiday pieces, dinnerware, and cocktail glasses for the perfect holiday tablescape. And once the season ends, you can store your dinnerware for next year and compost the rest! Zero-waste and oh-so chic.


Reducing your meat consumption is a great way to lower your carbon footprint. Raising lots of animals for food is destroying our planet. The United States alone has five times as many livestock animals as humans, and it takes a lot of land, water, and precious resources to raise these animals and grow feed for them just so that they can end up on our plates. While going vegan will be the most sustainable option, I understand that it just doesn’t work for everyone. For many families and cultures, meat dishes are essential to celebrating holidays and special occasions. So, if having meat on the dinner table is a must-have for your holiday celebrations, try cutting it back to just one meat dish, and don't make it the main event. Instead, focus on having many vegetable dishes with meat as a side dish. When shopping for meat, look for grass-fed & free-range or buy from a local farmer. 


I love beautifully wrapped presents as much as anyone, but the ugly truth is all of that gift wrap will likely end up in a landfill. This year, try upcycling gift bags and boxes from the previous year or even upcycling brown filling paper in online order shipments. Make it festive by applying holiday stamps, ribbon, and twine and embellishing it with greenery or dried citrus. Another great idea is wrapping gifts in something reusable like a beautiful scarf, tea towel, or bag. 


Avoid gifting items that no one needs. Instead, ask your family and friends what they want, need, or gift for a memorable experience. If you are looking for gift ideas, avoid the big box retailers and shop at local stores and markets instead. For online shopping, ditch the big polluters like Amazon and shop Verte Mode’s selection of ethical + sustainable brands. They’ve got something for everyone, and if you’re looking for inspiration, check out my holiday picks in this post. Shopping at sites like Verte that do the work for you when it comes to vetting their brands and products is one of my best tips for shopping sustainably without spending a bunch of time researching.


Kat’s Bio

Kat Scarlett is a San Francisco Bay Area environmental activist, podcast host, and brand founder. After witnessing the devastation of the 2019 bushfires while living in Australia, she began getting involved in environmental activism work and living a more conscious, low-waste lifestyle. Inspired by this work, she launched sustainable skincare brand Glotanicals in 2021. The brand prioritizes creating high-quality skincare that appeal to beauty lovers and eco-warriors alike. In 2023, Kat expanded her advocacy through the Glo Eco podcast, featuring conversations with sustainability experts and entrepreneurs to educate and inspire modern women to live a more sustainable but no less joyful or luxurious lifestyle. She is passionate about a greener future and encourages others to join her in making positive changes for the planet.


Katt Scarlett: Founder of Glotanicals

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