10 tips for happy and eco-friendly holidays

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At this time of year we focus on buying gifts for special people in our lives, but we rarely think the consequences of our spending.

Take single-use plastic bags. If we keep using them at the rate we are, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050. Clothes are one of the largest wasteful contributions to landfills, and they add microplastics and nanoplastics to our oceans. In the US, people throw away 13 million tons in unwanted gifts every year. About 34 percent of that is clothing.

In 2016 the world generated almost 45 million metric tons of electronic waste, equivalent to almost 4,500 Eiffel Towers

This holiday season can be different. Let the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), inspire us to move from linear to circular consumption, where we consider the entire life cycle of the things we buy, and create new shopping and festive holiday habits.

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Our top 10

2. Use non-disposable bottles for liquids

3. Make sure takeaway food packaging is eco-friendly, and preferably made of compostable materials. For outdoor parties use biodegradable or compostable cups.

4. More than a third of all food is wasted. Learn to shop and store food in ways that ensure it doesn’t end up in landfills, producing methane.

5. Choose clothing made from organic cotton. Or create your own fashion trends by buying gently-used items at thrift stores.

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In 2015, the US EPA reported that Americans generate 16 million tonnes of textile waste annually. Only 2.45 million tonnes are recycled and the rest are thrown away.

6. Buy products made by local artisans. This promotes local economies and saves transport emissions.

7. Properly dispose of waste for recycling. Recycle gift wrap (and try to use recycled materials in the first place), recycle glass, aluminum and plastics.

8. Donate everything you don’t need; many things can be reused and shared.

9. Exchange gifts that aren’t ‘things’, such as an art gallery membership, a massage, or even make your own gifts from local materials.

10. Finally, in the spirit of the season, consider ways in which you might help people who are going through hard times, such as those who live in poverty, those displaced by migration, or who a victims of violence

Let us live our lives guided by the ideals of the 2030 Agenda. This can be a time to raise awareness, to take care of the planet, to help those who are most in need and leave no one behind.

Read the full blog by Kryssia Brade here

Photo credit: Unsplash

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Transforming our world #By2030. Visit us at www.undp.org

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