PortlandOnline

POL Government Special Projects Portland CAN! Your Stuff
Your Stuff: Rethinking the Holidays - December 2, 2011
Bookmark and Share

Holiday gathering with friends and family

The holidays are here! This is the time of year to rethink how we celebrate the season. By choosing to spend more time with family and friends and by supporting local businesses, your choices can have a positive impact on the community and the environment.

For example, by buying locally-made items, you cut down on the carbon emissions associated with transporting those gifts from across the country or beyond.

People living in the Portland area throw away 25 percent more garbage during the holiday season and recycling volumes increase by a third. So with this in mind, it's also the time of year to consider giving gifts that help people consume less high-impact stuff.

Try something new this year:

Promote (creative) reuse

  • Handmade gifts are meaningful and show your creativity.

  • Second-hand items usually have a memorable story of how they were found or discovered.

  • Use cloth bags instead of wrapping paper.

Celebrate community

Give a gift of an experience, like tickets to an event, a gift card to a restaurant or for a massage, and support Portland's arts, wellness and restaurant communities.

Start a new tradition with friends and find local holiday or volunteer activities to do together. The Oregon Food Bank and local shelters need extra help this time of year, or you could set up a blanket or coat drive.

Make sustainable food choices

Look on labels for food grown in Oregon and SW Washington and take advantage of the delicious food available locally: pears, apples, hazelnuts, and much more.

Think about packaging before you buy. Purchase food items (and gifts) with little to no packaging or packaging that's recyclable.

Food scraps in the landfill create methane. Now that Portland residents can add food scraps to their green compost roll cart, remember that even the turkey carcass, ham bone or seafood shells can be composted. Keep your kitchen pail nearby as you prepare food, and try putting your pail in a visible, accessible location during gatherings so guests remember to scrape their plates into it. Visit portlandcomposts.com for more composting tips.

Avoid disposable containers and utensils and instead use dishes, utensils, cups and serving dishes made of glass, metal or sturdy plastic that can be washed and reused year after year.

Invite friends and family to bring Tupperware or other reusable containers to gatherings and send them home with leftovers of their favorite dish.

Check out Be Resourceful for local ideas and additional resources.

Metro has resources on how to have a sustainable holiday.

Lane County, Oregon has tips for reducing waste during the holidays.


Your Stuff

Your Stuff icon

Facebook icon   twitter icon   RSS Icon
Your Stuff Articles
Plan ahead for memorable holiday experiences | Climate Action Now | Your Stuff - With simple planning and creative thinking, tackle your shopping and to-do lists while saving money, reducing waste and enjoying the experience just a little more.
Save resources and still get what you need for back-to-school | Climate Action Now | Your Stuff - School days are coming and with them a chance for creativity and resourcefulness to get kids off to a great start
Portland joins the repair movement | Climate Action Now | Your Stuff - Community events are taking place in Portland to extend the life of what you have with basic maintenance by repairing items instead of replacing them
Spring cleaning for the Earth | Climate Action Now | Your Stuff - Cutting clutter from your home, basement or garage. Swapping and sharing useful goods. Creating community with local resources. All of these options are possible at this time of year.
Your Stuff: Reduce your junk mail this year - Free online services help you cut the clutter and stop the waste.
Your Stuff: Green holiday gift guide - The green holiday guide offers creative, eco-friendly tips to save more and live more this holiday season
Your Stuff: Find ways to celebrate Halloween without all the stuff - There are lots of ways to reuse, swap and share this Halloween
Your Stuff: Back-to-School - Create new sustainable routines for the start of the school year
Your Stuff: Buy Used! - Buy second hand, salvage, or repurpose something you already have to save money and avoid waste
Your Stuff: Spring Community Cleanups - Reuse is the cornerstone of neighborhood cleanup events.
Your stuff: Where You Live - Condo and apartment living can significantly reduce your carbon footprint
Your Stuff: Rethinking the Holidays - Make new memories by rethinking all aspects of your holiday season
Your Stuff: Make Compost, Not Greenhouse Gases - This Halloween, scare your food scraps out of the garbage and turn them into valuable compost
Your Stuff: Make Reusables Part of Your Every Day Habits - Learn ways to remember your reusable bags and other items.
Your Stuff: Best Practices for the Workplace - Small actions have big climate impacts in the workplace
Your Stuff: Moving Your Stuff! - Finding ways to manage your belongings.
Your Stuff: Earth Month - Control the clutter and save resources.
Your Stuff: Neighborhood Cleanups - One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!
Your Stuff: Recycling Makes a Difference - Climate benefits from recycling are significant
Your Stuff: Resolve to Manage Your Stuff - Start the New Year with a resolution about your stuff.
Your Stuff: Holiday Giving - Make your giving more memorable this year by shopping local and for gifts of experience.
Your Stuff: In the kitchen - Actions you can take in your kitchen to minimize your climate change impacts.
Your Stuff: Get More of the Good Stuff - Make a difference by being thoughtful about the amount of stuff you have.
Your Stuff: Make a difference by starting at home. - How we think about and manage all of our stuff can help curb global warming.