So here we are again it's the holiday season here in the USA and for a lot of the world. You start it off with the gluttonous feast of Thanksgiving, hit the peak of consumerism and waste for the year by Christmas and for many people the season is ended by staying up to late and getting hammered at some party to celebrate the beginning of a new year.
At least in a non Covid-19 year that is........
While some things have undoubtedly changed this year because of Covid, for example you hopefully stayed home for Thanksgiving and just celebrated with your immediate household. But I wonder what this Covid-19 pandemic is going to do to the consumerism and waste that is the Christmas season. I along with the rest of the world have been doing a lot more online shopping because of the pandemic and it has me wondering if online shopping is worse for living a waste conscious life style.
Online shopping is great for many things but one of the black marks against it, is that it tends to come with a lot of packaging. When you buy something online you are taking something that would have been shipped in bulk to a brick and mortar store and having it individually packed up and mailed to you. This creates a larger waste stream since individual packaging is much more wasteful than bulk packaging. In fact the thing you are getting is already packaged from the factory and it has to wrapped in another type to make it suitable for mailing.
Now don't get me wrong I love ordering things online and getting it sent right to my door especially these days but I abhor the amount of waste it can come with. Sometimes its not all bad when you get those packages that consist of a nice plain cardboard box and bunched packing paper. I only feel slightly bad about those because all that packing material can first be repurposed and then composted.
No harm no foul.... at least as far as the packaging is concerned
But when you get those packages with the blister packs or god forbid packing peanuts it makes my blood boil at the waste of it and my role in generating it.
Unfortunately we as consumers are the ones to take the blame for this in its entirety. Industries and products only survive as long as we the consumer deem them worthy of survival. So when we either buy non environmentally friendly products to package items in or we don't demand it from people we buy from we are directly responsible for this problem.
The only way to send the clear signal that plastic, foam or other non compostable materials for packaging is not acceptable is to not use them ourselves and to buy products that come in eco friendly materials.
Below are some examples of materials for sale on Amazon that make great packaging alternatives to plastics and foams.
Now I know that bucking a established system is not easy and that it is definitely just easier to go with the flow but that is not how things change. In my own life I have stopped the use of non eco friendly products for wrapping presents or sending items through the mail where ever I can. Any gifts I give to the spouse have either been wrapped in plain brown paper like the roll above or I have old fabric to make bags to hold the gifts while they are under the tree. Anyone not in my immediate household will either get electronic gifts or nothing at all. This might seem cold but the people that know me understand that it's not personal and that I don't expect anything from them in fact I would rather they didn't get me anything.
When ever I am wrapping up presents this way I can't help but think of the song I have below.
The Moral of the Story
Despite my tirade against the wastefulness of the holiday season I do enjoy the spirit of it, the good food and the seeing of loved ones for the first and possibly only time that year. But the end of the year is also a time for reflection and thought about your actions of the year past and how you could do better next year.
If everyone in the world changed 1 small thing for the better next year that would give us 7,828,569,171 small things that are now better. You don't have to do a big thing to make a big impact. I will leave you today with a quote that is possibly from Theodore Roosevelt but I didn't confirm that.
“The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Hello my name is Josh Larson and I am the creator of the Green Living Library. Here on the blog you will find updates to content found in the Green Living Library as well as stories from those living the sustainable life already.