With New Years approaching, many of us find ourselves thinking about the future, new beginnings, and upcoming plans. You may be sitting down to write a list of resolutions or preparing for a big party. I find myself thinking of our planet and its future. The commercialization of holidays has led them all to be big waste generators. I consider the impact of New Years celebrations specifically as I write my resolutions and this blog post. Many people don’t realize the waste they generate and the impact it has on our planet. Today I’m going to go over some of the waste New Years generates, what you can do to mitigate it this weekend, and what changes you can make this year.
New Years celebrations leave behind a wide range of waste, from uneaten food to unrecyclable decorations. Many of the New Years decorations and noise makers are designed to be only used once. They are made from breakable and non recyclable materials and plastered with the approaching year. For the sake of convenience, party planners may gravitate to disposable plates and not bother to make a plan for leftover food. If it doesn’t end up in the fridge and there’s no containers prepared to save it may be tossed in the garbage with everything else. You may also be caught up in the moment during a party and forget to make sure bottles get put in the recycling. There’s a myriad of factors and items that cause waste. It may feel overwhelming trying to tackle them all, but it’s important to take a step back and see which issues you notice around you so you can plan ahead.
There is no perfect solution to each problem. You need to consider your own funds, capacity, and needs to figure out how best you can make a change. It’s ok if there’s still some waste, any progress is good progress! Below are a few different solutions to try to stop the waste mentioned above.
- Make your own out of items that would go in the landfill anyway
- Go classic and bang pots and pans
- Buy ones that don’t have the year on them so you can reuse them again
- Pay attention to the quality of what you buy
- Find a way to modify what you already have to work again
Food and related waste
- Plan ahead with your friends who will bring what home
- Make sure someone is assigned the task of getting food into the fridge
- Have a potluck for both food and plates so you don’t have to buy disposable plates
- Have tupperware ready for extra food
Moving into the New Year, you can take what you’ve started to consider in preparing for celebrations and apply it to other parts of your life. You don’t have to change everything – we all know the experience of being haunted by unfulfilled resolutions – but you can start taking some small steps to change your impact. For this year my resolution is to always keep some empty tupperware on me. That way I can reduce my food waste and not need disposable take out containers. Take a look at what changes you can make in your life and you may just be surprised with the difference you can make.