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Dani Masi

Dani Masi

Season of Sustainability

The holiday season is full of giving, celebrating, and most of all, waste. As happy as this time of year is, it also has a huge impact on the amount of waste produced. 

#1: Avoid fast fashion brands
If you’ve ever searched for clothes on Amazon, you’ll have come across some suspiciously low priced items that seem too good to be true. Fast fashion is prevalent both in online shopping and in a lot of the stores we frequent (for a list of brands to avoid, check here. These brands source their clothes from manufacturers with poor labor conditions, and even worse environmental regulations, regularly using toxic dyes and plastic heavy synthetic fabrics in their clothes.
The best way to avoid shopping fast fashion is to use your personal discretion! Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, so if something seems a bit too good, consider looking elsewhere. Additionally, apps like Good On You (available for Android & Apple phones) rate brands based on how well they treat their employees all the way down the supply chain, as well as their environmental impact, and their animal friendliness.

#2: Buy from ethical brands
Clever marketing can make it tough to tell which brands are really ethical and which ones aren’t, but a quick way to know for certain is to take a look at their certifications. Fair Trade Certified brands are among the easiest to spot, but keep an eye out for items certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the Fair Wear Foundation, the Soil Association, and more! For a list of certifications to keep an eye out for, and what their labels look like, check here.
If you’re looking for something a little more local, try Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade store in Winter Park. Or, head out to your nearest farmers market for some truly local gifts.

#3: Give an experience
So far we’ve talked about material gifts, but the gift of an experience can be just as good! It’s a great way to show your friends & family members how much you care, especially if you’re offering to share it with them. Whether it’s tickets to a concert, a picnic at Lake Eola, a day at Disney (with discounted tickets from the UCF SGA), or a trip up to Blue Springs, the gift of an experience can fit any budget.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, try here.

#4: Choose eco-friendly wrapping
We throw away an extra 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday season than any other time of the year, and a lot of that can be attributed to wrapping paper, paper packaging, and holiday cards. Instead of using paper wrapping this year, why not try some alternatives?
If you’ve collected some newspapers, magazines, classroom handouts, fabric scraps, paper grocery bags, or any other pliable materials through the year, now’s the time to put them to good use! Check out a list of alternative wrapping suggestions here.

#5: Take your gifts with you
If you’re traveling for the holidays this year, try to fit as many of your gifts into your luggage as possible. UPS delivered over 762 million packages during the holiday season last year, and that adds up to a lot of cardboard, packing peanuts, and plastic bags. Shipping gifts back and forth across the country can also add a lot to global emissions. Instead of shipping your presents to your destination (or to yourself on your way back home), try to leave yourself some extra space in your luggage to cut back on your overall waste.