The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Environmentality: Five ways to make the holidays green

Claire Barnett
Photo by Claire Barnett // Vanderbilt Hustler

During the holiday season, it can be easy to fall victim to unsustainable habits. In fact, studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Americans dispose of nearly 25 percent more trash during the holidays. Furthermore, over a third of U.S. residents have gifts that they have never even used. This year, I urge you to look into some sustainable gift ideas that I think your loved ones will enjoy.

Give a gift that promotes sustainable actions

  • An easy example is a bike. Not only is biking a fun pastime, it also encourages a more ecofriendly mode of transportation. Even better, it promotes a healthier lifestyle!
  • Another good gift is a water bottle. Plastic water bottles take twice as much water to create than they store. This Christmas, give the gift that keeps on giving—metal water bottles can be used over and over again, and they keep your water colder and for longer amounts of time. It’s the perfect gift for people on the go or just hanging out in the dorm.
  • Tote bags are a nice addition to the holiday season, especially when it comes to shopping. These reusable bags make holiday shopping a much more environmentally friendly process. This year, opt to use a tote bag while shopping and get your loved ones one, too! This way, you can reduce the amount of plastic bags in circulation.
  • Seeds for planting a tree, flower or garden make for a great gift. This is especially beneficial if the vegetation grows food if your loved one likes to cook!

Give gifts that come from sustainable sources

  • Allbirds shoes are a sensible gift for any age. This aesthetically pleasing shoe is made from New Zealand sheep wool, a material that reduces the shoes energy usage by 60 percent compared to typical shoes. Further, their packaging, bagging and shipping materials are made from 90 percent post-consumer recycled cardboard.
  • A 4Ocean Bracelet is a wonderful gift that also goes towards a great cause. Each bracelet is made from recycled materials, including glass and water bottles. Plus, with the purchase of each bracelet, an additional pound of trash is removed from the ocean. The company has already removed over 2 million pounds of trash from the ocean and the numbers are steadily increasing. Choose this holiday season to be a part of that statistic.

Give a non-material gift

  • Give your loved one a cooking class! Not only will you get to enjoy messing around in the kitchen, you’ll also learn valuable skill on how to create a delicious dinner.
  • Concert tickets are always a good option. Look into what type of music your loved one listens to and see if they have any upcoming concerts in your area. If not, see if a local band has anything they’d be interested in.

Choose a donation for your gift

  • Instead of asking for a gift this Christmas, you can ask your friends and family to donate to a good cause. This is especially easy to do on Facebook and can generate a lot of money for beneficial organizations like St. Jude’s Hospital, American Cancer Society and Sustainable America.

Wrap with sustainable products

  • This Christmas, opt to wrap your gifts with newspaper or paper grocery bags instead of wrapping paper. Even better, invest in gift bags since they can be reused over and over again. Also, make sure you save your ribbons and bows! Just two feet of saved ribbon per household could save enough ribbon to tie a bow around the Earth. These are not only great options for saving the planet, but also to save your money.

There are many ways to make for a more sustainable holiday season. I hope these tips help you get started on the right track. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday break and good luck with finals!

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About the Contributors
Kailey Newcome, Former Columnist
Kailey Newcome (‘21) was an environmental columnist for The Hustler. She majored in civil and environmental engineering in the School of Engineering. Kailey has spent the last 6 months working for DuPont on reliability testing of 3D-printed materials. In her free time, she enjoys working out, cooking, playing volleyball and with dogs and spending time with her friends.
Claire Barnett, Former Multimedia Director
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