December’s Zero Waste Wins and Struggles

Updated: Feb 2

Don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving through January tends to be super busy for my family. Yes, there are “the holidays” but both of my children also have their birthdays in December and January, and we always make sure they get their fair share of celebrating and adoration. So this time of year involves lost of lists, planning and taking things “one item at a time” in order to maintain my sanity. Sometimes that also means that my eco-goals fall by the wayside. I read somewhere that there’s about a 25% increase in trash production over December and completely believe it. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I’ve witnessed this statistic evidenced in my house as well.


I’ve mentioned here that I’ve gone back to work this past year, and have had to make some compromises at home, because one just can’t do everything. Well, those compromises included our holiday shopping choices. In the past, I’ve tried to be good about picking “something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.” I bought many used items and shopped as locally as possible. This year, my kids got their hands on the Amazon catalogue and I honored some of their lists. Did I buy toys from big box stores? I did. Between school, work and life, I needed to be efficient. Only human, after all. However I did get their books from Gibson’s, so I’ll give myself that win.

Going through my daughter’s birthday gifts and saving all of the tissue to reuse for my holiday presents

But there were lots of other gifts to buy – colleagues, my kids’ teachers and the like – and I made sure to buy all of those presents from local places. I reused bags and tissue paper from gifts that we’ve been given, and chose items that could either be consumed (some local maple candy), recycled or composted. Was I tempted to buy a giftcard from DD or something similar? Sure, but I made a conscious effort to put my money back into our local economy and feel good about it. That Starbucks down the street will survive, but a Concord Main St business owner told me that this time of year is “make or break” from a lot of them. I wanted to do my part to keep my community going.

We’ve also been better about toning down the random junk that we bring into our lives. Last weekend, we threw a small (Covid-safe) birthday party for our daughter and reigned it in a bit. My husband especially loves putting together goody-bags with lots of little trinkets and doo-dads for the kids, but everyone knows those things don’t last. After a day or two, the items get lost in the house, break and/or eventually trashed. This year, we got one small item for each kid and called it good. No one walked away disappointed, and we satisfied our desire to give out goody-bag style gifts while decreasing our trash. I think that’s a habit we will keep.

Lastly, I am rocking my goal of wearing at least one used item of clothing a day. (As a side note, did you read about Hannah’s goal of wearing the same dress for 100 days?) Most of my purses at this point are second-hand and I’m trying hard to “shop second-hand first” when I need new clothes. For example, we are heading to a fancy party next week and I need a dress to wear. So I searched on Thred-Up and found a bunch of choices for a portion of the cost and solved my problem. Not only does the Earth thank me, my wallet does as well!

Writing this post while my kids do their gymnastics. Bought these shoes second-hand (but they were pretty much brand new) and I’ve gotten so many compliments on them! You can have your fashion and help the Earth too!

PS Did you read about this new bill being sponsored in the NH Senate? As a public school educator, I am super excited about this one and would love to see it pass.

#climatechange #NewHampshire #NH #zerowaste

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