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A Low-Waste Holiday

A Low-Waste Holiday

By Moriah Schreiber

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Blog: A Low-Waste Holiday

The holiday season is often regarded as a joyful and warm part of the year where family and loved ones gather together. Not everyone celebrates this holiday in the same way, and there is beauty in that. Family and household traditions are passed down, holiday meals are shared, and Santa Claus visits with presents (or coal). Some would say this season is somewhat magical (me).Β πŸŽ…πŸΌ

My family has a glass ornament of a pickle that has been passed down for generations. It's a German tradition that has been carried throughout our family. My parents hide the pickle somewhere in the decorated tree, and the first one to find it gets to open the "Pickle Gift," which is usually a gift card (it gets pretty cutthroat the older my siblings and I get). Some of us have unique traditions like this that we associate with the holiday season. For some, it's the best time of the year, filled with the warmest feelings.

At Green Top Farms we like to use the term "zero waste'' in our strides to reduce waste in the operation from recipe writing to incorporating byproducts of production. I think we can look at the holiday season (and some of the societal norms that go along) similarly, and avoid some of the unnecessary excess and over-abundance. 🌿 We see it most obviously in packaging and wrapping. While not everything can be reduced to "zero-waste," sustainability is a direction, and we can all take the opportunity this year to make a positive impact on our environment.

So, our team wanted to share some of the things they do at home for a lower waste holiday season!

  1. Use leftover meats and food scraps from holiday meals to make soups and stews. Div's dad will deliver the soup in quart containers to folks in need in the community.. You could even freeze these leftovers. He also likes to find gifts that are pre-owned at thrift stores, online marketplaces, etc. People typically like these unique and thoughtful gifts more (as long as they don't mind the pre-owned aspect), and it promotes a more circular economy.
  2. This year for various Christmas gifts, Div's partner Sarah is also making homemade beeswax wraps for food storage and leftovers. This is a thoughtful homemade gift and encourages less food waste by gifting a tool that can be used to save leftovers!
  3. For the holidays, Ella's family used to make pomander ballsβ€” oranges decorated with cloves. 🍊 Not only can they be used as decor, but as the oranges dry, they release a citrusy and spicy fragrance that makes for a great natural alternative to candles & room fresheners.
  4. My mom will go outside and collect pine branches from the backyard. She strings fairy lights and ribbons through them to hang around the house and use as centerpieces on tables. ✨ She's been known to tie candy canes and cinnamon sticks through the ribbon, too, for some nice scents.
  5. Krystal went to a Christmas tree lot the other day and asked for the scraps they throw out after they trim trees; they looked at her like she was nuts for but she stuck to the plan and brought the beautiful evergreen branches home. The next day, she went to her local florist and asked for any greenery they were discarding. They gave her fresh eucalyptus branches, and she reused cranberry branch decor she had to make a beautiful wreath. Free and recycled!Β 
  6. Astrid's mom has also been doing this since she was a kid, and she's carried on that tradition by adding some ornaments and decor that her mom has kept over the years. She also takes any excess or fallen pine cones and small branches (with sap) from the tree and puts them in an open glass container around the house. Every room smells like a Christmas tree instead of burning candles. πŸŽ„ This idea actually came from her family in Guatemala when she would visit as a kid during Christmas time. Families in the more rural areas don't always have the luxury of having a tree at home ever year, so they collect pine leaves and cones from the mountains and spread them all over the floor in every room!Β 

The holidays are a great time of year for practicing mindfulness within our familial traditions. Sustainability doesn't look the same for every household. The standards of sustainability vary depending on time, space, location, resources, and so many other things. I encourage you to look at your resources this year and incorporate whatever sustainable and mindful practice available in your reach! Every small shift towards this type of sustainability makes a big difference in the long run. ❀️

From our kitchen to yours, Happy Holidays!Β 

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