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Episode 11 – Green Up Your Holidays

Discover how you can green your life by building a knowledge base of current sustainable and eco-savvy trends. This series will delve into hot topics, current standards and practices, ways to design better spaces and specify materials that benefit not only us, as consumers, but the world as a whole. Members of CaraGreen, a sustainable materials distributor, and other industry leaders weigh in throughout the series. This is Build Green live Green.

This episode will cover ways to “green up” your holidays, was to make your celebrations more sustainable. We are here today with Jessica McNaughton and Kim Loftis of CaraGreen, our show's producer and sustainability think-tank.

JESSICA: Hi this is Jessica.

KIM: And this is Kim.

JESSICA: We're here with Build Green Live Green, and our next episode of the podcast which is about greening up the holidays. And with Christmas right around the corner, there's a lot of opportunities to, you know, make changes in what you're used to, your routines, maybe your customs, and, you know, make some positive changes that have a good environmental impact, but also just make you feel better about the holidays in general.

KIM: Yeah, so we're going to go through a lot of different options, like Jessica said, specifically starting with Christmas, but we're going to talk about a lot of other holidays as well so that this can be something that you can carry with you throughout the year, some tips that you can apply, you know, maybe even outside of the holidays to, you know, parties that you may host at your home to make them more sustainable and use less and waste less.

JESSICA: Okay, so starting with Christmas, my biggest pinch point for Christmas is, of course, I think is the gift-giving. It’s hard to decide what to buy people. I think what we can do today for a lot of our listeners is to give them some ideas that are unconventional. I think a lot of these sustainable gift options are really nice choices where you don't have to comb through Amazon filters trying to figure out what to get a 14 year old girl who cares about the planet, you know, we'll give you some ideas here on what to do there, so it'll help make it easier to choose some gifts. But also, my biggest issue with gifts is the amount of plastic packaging used, especially having three little kids. First of all, I almost lacerate my hand every year trying to open up some My Little Pony or you know some…

KIM: Especially because you have to open it really fast because they want to play with it right away.

JESSICA: Yes, every single one. And they're all in these vacuum-sealed sharp, sharp plastic packaging containers and a lot of them aren't recycled and that's something I've actually got better about when I buy gifts for people, is to look if the packaging itself is recyclable.

KIM: That’s a great idea and I think that it's actually harder in this realm for kids because they grow out of things so quickly, so you're getting a toy that they might not play with in a year or two years. But when you're buying for adults, you know, it's more likely that they can use it year after year. So, you have to be a little bit more thoughtful when you're thinking about kids’ gifts, something that's going to last longer, maybe they can hand down to a sibling or maybe even donate eventually.

JESSICA: Yeah, I had the pleasure of finding my kids Christmas lists recently and my five-year old’s Christmas list was a PokémonGo and a mom. When she got home she explained to me that she hadn't quite finished writing and so she erased it and wrote something else. But the last thing she asked for on her Christmas list was a recycling machine.

KIM: That’s so cute.

JESSICA: I don't know what that is, it might be another bin in the kitchen. But she wanted a recycling machine, which was different than the ice cream machine she asked for last year. But yeah, so, we have a lot of tough decisions to make when it comes to buying gifts. You have, you know, a small child too and you want to get them stuff that they're asking for. But I can tell you the quality of gifts, so many of them come from China, and if you're not diligent about what you're looking at or where it's coming from, it shows up and the quality is not what you expected. Your Barbie’s are not the quality of the Barbie’s that are coming out today, they’re not durable- you can snap their arms off. I should know, I've got about 12 torsos in my daughter's room. But, you know, the quality is not good and last year I actually bought, you know, that Barbie head that you comb its hair and you put makeup on it or, I don't know, you just put it in braids. I bought my daughter that last year. It was such flimsy plastic, if you tried to comb her hair, the whole thing would flip over.  I returned it. I was like, “this is not the quality that I had.” But they’re just made flimsier with lighter plastic, and they easily break. So, we're giving a lot of these gifts that just don't hold up, so it's not worth getting them, frankly.

KIM: Yeah, and I think that that can be something that can be hard to communicate to family members. That’s something that I've struggled with and, you know, making sure that my daughter isn't getting a bunch of little plastic toys from the Dollar Tree just to give her a bunch of stuff. So communicating that can be kind of tough. One thing that I'm doing this year is creating a wish list and I'm going to send that wish list out to our family members, so they can pick what they want and they don't have to get that exact thing, but something kind of in that idea so that we know that it is something that she is going to play with and it's something that we, you know, can kind of verify the quality on as well.

JESSICA: Is it something that you do via email or is it an Amazon wish list? Or I mean, I think for our listeners it could be done either…

KIM: It could be done either way. I think there's a few different ways you can do it. I've done Amazon wish list before and then there's another one, well I think it’s called Baby List, but it doesn't have to be for babies. It’s basically you can pick gifts from Etsy, from Amazon, from Target and put them all on one list. They don't have to be from the same store or from the same website. So that's really helpful.  Another thing that I've been doing so far this year, I haven't… well actually I did buy one thing, is I'm looking for secondhand. So, Sydney wants this farm and I was like those things are like $45 brand-new. So, I went to the thrift store, found a perfect one for $4 and you know somebody else loved it first, it was in a great condition.

JESSICA: It's potentially better quality than you would get if you bought it now.

KIM: Exactly, exactly. So, I think that's a really good option not only for kids, but for adults as well. You know, obviously you got to kind of be careful with that sort of thing, because you don't want to get something that may be as damaged. So, you've got to kind of pick and choose and shop at the right places, but, you know, pretty much everywhere has good options for thrift stores or antique shops where you can get some really unique things.

JESSICA: And I think that anyone that's listening that does have children knows that they have more toys than they know what to do with and we just recently ran to the thrift store and dropped off a few bags, you know, as soon as the kids aren’t looking, a few bags of their toys that we've basically foraged out of their room, the things that they weren't using. But I'm sure they'll make great gifts for someone else, it’s just they had outgrown them. So, I think that's a great idea and you also mentioned Etsy, which is a great place. It’s, you know, it almost feels like local. Local is great to shop local too, but Etsy, you know, it is kind of is made handmade stuff. It’s all unique. You can customize so much of it and you just feel better about ordering off of Etsy. And you can find these natural materials, which is something else I would encourage when it comes to gifts. My stepmother, she buys my kids these handmade wooden train-like components, right, and they all hook together, and the kids just roll them around the house and they love them. But they're all made by this man, he's an artist and a woodworker who just makes these wooden trains. They hold up so much better.

KIM: And how much packaging was around that?

JESSICA: That was just the train, right? And then the string that pulls it. And it seems, you know, it's not a drone, it’s not, you know, a Nerf gun with 30 pellets that my dog eats, but it's this train and its thick, solid wood.

KIM: Yeah, I think we also get in these modes where we have to get the flashiest gifts and that's not necessarily true. You know, something that's quality that you can really spend a lot of time with and have fun with, kid or adult, is something that's going to be good and lasts a long time and be a valuable gift versus something that you play with once and it breaks and then you're bummed.

JESSICA: Yeah. So, less packaging, be smart about where your material is coming from. Look for secondhand stuff if you know exactly what you want. Look for natural materials, wood, obviously. But there's a lot of natural cotton fabrics and things like that, wool, things that are you know safe for your children and are not plastics or toxic in any way. Also, we mentioned sustainable, local handmade things like Etsy.

KIM: There is a lot, definitely in our area, in the triangle here in North Carolina, there's a lot of kind of handmade markets.  So, those are great to shop at around this time of year or really any time of year, there are usually multiple times of year.

JESSICA: Well, not everyone's a Meesha that has their Christmas shopping done by July.

KIM: I cannot believe she's already done. But yeah, so, there's a lot of ways to look for that good local quality unique stuff and then something that you thought of as well is that you can get people services so, you can gift that sort of thing. It’s very usable, it's very practical and something that people maybe don't expect.

JESSICA: Yeah and, I think for me, babysitting, you know, or a massage or a staycation. You know, my sister-in-law says, “hey I am going to come down for four days and, you know, you guys can go to a hotel or just get a break from the kids,” or, you know, something like that, that's not hard to do. I mean you could go out to your parents’ house and send them off to the Biltmore for the weekend or something, you know. But it's those things that aren't stuff, but they're kind of ideas and concepts that I think people really appreciate.

KIM: I asked my husband for a cleaning service for multiple years and I still haven’t gotten it yet and I'm like why aren't you getting me this gift? I literally want someone to come clean the house, like I promise you that's what I want. He’s like, “it's so practical. I wouldn't get you something like that.” Like, really this is really what I want.

JESSICA: Listen, I got a refrigerator.

KIM: For Christmas or for a gift?  Hey you never know.

JESSICA: You know, those ideas are great. I saw one that was an invitation to go on a hike. That’s kind of a neat thing to get for a friend or lunch or something that’s not so, you know, here's a sweater, I hope you like it.  I have one relative who buys me these pieces of clothing and I'm like, “have you not seen my body shape?” Like it's just totally unflattering. But I find it's just- a service like that is something just, it's very hard to go wrong. A couple of other things I saw that were just more nature based are things like organic makeup, organic, you know, lotions and things like that. A really interesting one was sunglasses that are 3d printed from recycled plastic. That was a really neat idea and then there's a washing bag, this is something I would get for you. It’s a bag you wash your clothes in and it keeps the microfibers from going into the water and getting into the ocean.

KIM: Yes, I want that.

JESSICA: I know, I thought of you. Also, used books or electronic books, I mean that's something that you can get someone easier and it's not wasteful.

KIM: I like that idea. I'm going to start making a list right now, I'm getting lots of ideas for my family.

JESSICA: Another one that I saw that is more for people that live in a city, like a more of an urban environment, is a subscription to a service like CityBike where, you know, it really mitigates that transportation. We didn't talk about carpooling yet, kind of, consolidating travel around the holidays is another great way to kind of green up your holiday season.

KIM: What I really like about these ideas is not only are they sustainable, but they're really unique and one of the most exciting things for me about gift-giving and gift-getting is getting something that you would not get for yourself. Like any of these things you wouldn't really even think about. Maybe you think “I would want to do that,” but you wouldn't go get yourself a gift card to you know X Y Z or some of these ideas that we've talked about, so, they're really great and unique and, you know, your family members and loved ones will really like them.

JESSICA: Yeah, so I think what we'll do for our listeners is put a list of some of these ideas on our website, maybe on the podcast page, so that they can see some of the things that we talked about. It’ll be in the transcript, but maybe we can pull up the list as well and just make it available, so these ideas are kind of readily accessible or if any of our listeners want a copy of that list, just email us at info@caregreen.com and we can send it out to you. So, gifts, we know we covered that I think pretty thoroughly. Every year seventy-five billion dollars is spent on gifts. So, using some of these ideas that we have here could really…

KIM: Is that just for Christmas?

JESSICA: That's US for Christmas. Yeah, and then every year almost two billion cards are sent. I think about the number of cards that I get where I'm like, “oh, great, you got an elf hat on your dog.” You know, I mean I would rather get that card electronically, honestly. I think that sending electronic cards is just as good. I have boxes and boxes full of people's Christmas cards and I appreciate it. But it's become a ritual and a custom and it's so… I don't want to discount anyone that does it, because I've done it quite recently. I just find that it seems more “me too” than it is a stay in touch thing. There’s no personal message on the card. It’s, you know, a list, you can submit your card and have them mail it out for you. I'd prefer to do something electronically and frankly I use Facebook for what I consider to be my Christmas card. Because I posted on there and I post a picture on there of the family and “Happy Holidays” and that to me is the audience that I want to get that out. I don't need to put something in the mail.

KIM: I think you are right. It can definitely be a “keeping up with the Joneses” sort of thing. Everybody else is doing it, you know, I'm required to do this thing once I have a family or, you know, are more established, or whatever to take pictures, and even that, going and getting a photography shoot just for your Christmas card, you know, is, you're putting in a lot of effort there. I actually have some family members that send a letter and they give an update for every family member and that's what they send. So, it actually is a very personal update, and these are family members that I don't see very often at all, so, it is kind of nice to read. But if you have closer family members that you want to share photos with, why not send them something that they can frame and that is good year-round versus a seasonal picture that very they're going to put in the trash, hopefully they'll recycle it.

JESSICA: It'll sit around a door jamb like with 80 other ones for about two weeks and then it will probably go in the trash.

KIM: So, I guess if you do choose to go that route since so many people do, we would encourage you to look at suppliers that use recycled paper and even have the little recycled symbol on the card to remind the receiver to recycle it, because there is so much waste around all of these holidays where things just get tossed.

JESSICA: I almost want to look it up now or research it a little bit to find out if there's a service where you could send someone something in lieu of a Christmas card, 20 cents went to this nation in Africa that needed water, something like that. I think that would, I'd be really interested to see if there's a service like that that really kind of offsets the cost of printing and sending some of those cards.  Especially with the Postal Service- I heard last week the rates for mailing an envelope are going up again, they’re losing so much money, it’s a major issue. But you know, just mailing is hard in general right now.

KIM: My mother-in-law did request one year that we didn't get gifts for each other and that we all contributed to a fund. So, that's a good idea for a family group as well, because I think as we get older and it's harder to buy for adults, like I find it even hard to buy for my parents a lot of the time, like what do they need, you know, what they really really need. So, you know, if you are finding yourself in that situation and your family members are up for it, contributing all to a good cause is a great idea.

JESSICA: I also think that's a great opportunity for Hamilton tickets or, right, for your parents, you know, to give them, you know, something like that, because they are hard to buy for.

KIM: So, that kind of going into the services/experiences, yeah, I like that.

JESSICA: You mentioned something that, actually, I remember when you were talking about Sydney's farm and a gift my daughter got, Gabby got a goat last year, a stuffed goat.  But it was the purchase of the goat sponsored a goat. So, it actually had the story of an actual goat behind her stuffed goat. So, she had this story of this real living animal and she had this representation of it and she walked around with that thing forever and to her it was a goat.

KIM: Remember when we did that for our co-worker Barb? I think it was for her 50th birthday, we sponsored an owl for her, got her that stuffed owl. That’s a great idea.

JESSICA: Those are good ideas. I know you can do that for manatees. I know we did that when I was in school.

KIM: Oh my god, I used to be obsessed with manatees.

JESSICA: Now it’s avocados. The last thing that's really Christmas-specific, to some degree, is decorations and ornaments. You can get plastic ornaments and, you know, they don't really tell you anything. The family that I spent a lot of time with when I was a kid, they had this tree and every ornament had a story and it was chock-full top to bottom and every ornament had this great back story. She was Swedish. You know they had these little tomtoms or something. Every year they would get a new ornament and you know that it would have a nice back story. When I first started decorating our Christmas tree, you know I got a lot of “baby's first Christmas,” and it would have a picture with it and the name and I really love those ornaments. And my sister would always get us this artist that made these clay ornaments and you could get them customized, so when I got certified to scuba dive, I got a scuba diver.

KIM: Oh, that's so cute.

JESSICA: You know when I first had Sebastian, I got a mother holding a baby. But they're almost like cartoonish, but they were customized, names, years everything. So, I really enjoyed getting those and I think those handmade ornaments, local or natural ornaments, I mean, my mom always made those little walnut shells with the yarn on them and they had a little mouse face in there and so easy to make. One year we decorated our whole tree with origami swans, so we just folded up papers and then hung them all over the tree. So, any wood or paper-based ornaments are great and, like we, said local or just really meaningful ornaments.

KIM: Yeah, I agree. I think that when you get meaningful ornaments, you're going to use them year after year and you're going to have that memory attached to them and I think that you can do that in other parts of your decorating as well, so you're not buying, you know, these little cardboard setups or little paper setups that maybe you just throw away because they were trendy one year and now they're not. You know, I think about how my parents decorate their house and my mom has had the same garland since I don't even know how long and the same Christmas ornaments, like you were mentioning, with your family. So, I think those things really go a long way and they create those memories and those traditions that everybody kind of latches on to as well. Also, for decorating you can go kind of the nature-based route, so I kind of see them a little bit as one in the same as far as the sustainability or green aspect of them, because if you get a garland that isn't real, maybe it's painted green, but you're using it over and over and over again.

JESSICA: That goes to the same thing for a real tree or a fake tree. You use a fake tree for 15 years, you offset what a real tree would have done. So, you know there's an argument to be made either way. I think that our mission in having this whole discussion is just to get people to change the way they think about the holiday season in general.

KIM: And make the best decision for their situation.

JESSICA: And if you're going to get a fake tree, don't get a six-foot tree knowing next year you're going to one 12-foot tree.  One of the things that we didn't mention that I actually- my mother-in-law was seamstress, you know, she liked to sew. She would make bags, gift bags, and then of just a piece of fabric that we would tie the bags with. So, every year, even if we went to a destination Christmas, she would bring all these gift bags. So, we would have 60 or 70 gift bags and people would come with their gifts, stick them in the bag and just tie it with the string and we reused them year after year after year. I mean it looks so beautiful, they're all these festive prints. They're all kind of Christmas themed in some way or fabricate that for something that she had made that she repurposed into these bags and it's just such a great idea and it's so much easier than wrapping these things and people get just as much joy opening a bag and pulling out what's inside and then you could save these bags and reuse them year after year.

KIM: And I think that's one of those tradition things that people can kind of have a hard time wrapping their heads around. Some people hate wrapping gifts, some people love wrapping gifts. I love wrapping gifts. Meesha in our office loves wrapping gifts and I think that can be a hard thing to overcome. Like I want to do that every year. So, I end up buying wrapping paper even though it's a waste. So, I think it can be a hard thing to get your head around to change the way that you do that. But the example that you just gave, I think that could turn into a tradition too. Maybe you make your own bags or maybe you get them from a supplier that you really love the patterns that they use and that's kind of like your signature wrapping style. So, I think it can be something that people can, it maybe isn't the easiest shift, because they have that tradition there, but, you know, worth thinking about when you can save a lot of packaging, because there is so much waste, you know, we've already touched on that. I really like to use gift bags because they're obviously reusable. You have to put tissue paper in them.

JESSICA: You are talking about paper gift bags. I am talking about cloth ones.

KIM: Right, yeah, exactly, yeah, so, I'm talking about the paper ones, the ones that you buy from the store. I have had the same paper gift bags for years because I just reuse them, and I actually reuse tissue paper, which people think is so funny after Christmas. I'm like over in the corner flattening it out, folding in half and I stuff it all in my bag to take it back home.

JESSICA: All of this is like, “hey I'm trying to hide what I got you for 30 seconds.”

KIM: Yeah it looks nice. But you know that's not…

JESSICA: Well, not your stuff, it’s all crinkly.

KIM: I know it's very crinkly.

JESSICA: Well here is the thing about wrapping presents that I don't think a lot of people know and I think we know this because one of the products that we sell, PaperStone is made out of recycled paper. But one of the things that challenges PaperStone when they get this recycled paper, which very well could be wrapping paper, is tape. So, when you leave the tape on it, when it goes through the recycling process, that's plastic and glue.  So, it gets stuck in these paper fibers and it can kind of interrupt the material. So, they have a workaround and they are able to work around it but leaving tape on the wrapping paper and that's a risk you run. Again, with the fabric gift bags you don't run that risk. With wrapping paper, I watch so many people stuff it into a black Glad bag, throw it outside and it lands in the landfill, and most wrapping paper is recyclable. Our listeners should try to avoid buying anything with glitter in general, but wrapping paper with glitter is not recyclable, so trying to avoid glittery wrapping paper and that's just better for everyone. If anyone's ever opened it, it gets all over the place.

KIM: Yeah, it's stuck in the carpet, if you have carpet. All over your clothes.

JESSICA: Try having an eight-year-old son who doesn't like glitter. He’ll unwrap the present and freak out for the rest of the day. “I’m glittering!” So, avoid the glitter in general. Yes, I think if you're able to recycle your wrapping paper, I think that's good. If you're able to use the fabric gift bags I think that's better.

KIM: Absolutely.

JESSICA: So, I think we've done a pretty good job covering Christmas. There’s some other holidays that are pretty wasteful in general, like Valentine's Day is just all and all a waste.

KIM: Depends on who you’re talking to and what year it is, maybe, I think that’s true, at some point in everyone’s life.

JESSICA: You know, another one that's similar to Christmas is Easter. The plastic eggs and this weird North Carolina Easter egg hunt tradition, okay. I grew up in Vermont. My parents stuck a piece of chocolate and egg, hid it. We lived on, I don't know, 12 acres or something, so we were gone half the day trying to find the 20 eggs they hid.

KIM: That sounds fun.

JESSICA: Here you've got a postage stamp backyard, you throw 300 eggs all over the place, you got eight kids running around picking them up and they're filled with, I don't even know, like little plastic spiders, little plastic combs, little plastic rings, all this stuff.  Why? I don't want any of it and it's this custom. I did it once and I didn't know and now I will never do it again. I mean, I reuse our plastic eggs every year. I will put chocolate or whatever in them. I will donate it. There’s usually a lot left over, and we’ll donate a bunch of the candy, but it is just… Easter baskets and that plastic grass that goes in them. There is paper based versions of that. How about just using the basket?

KIM: Yeah, I know with the Easter eggs, I think that again, it is one of those things that I mentioned to you with the wrapping paper, that it kind of is, who knows why that started with the Easter eggs. When I was younger we had empty Easter eggs and a couple of them would have a dollar and one of them would have a five-dollar bill and whoever got the dollar or the five dollars were super excited. But it was also fun to just hunt for the Easter eggs, that's like the point of it. So, I think that it can be hard to translate that if you're not hosting, saying, “I don't want that in the eggs” or “I'm going to bring my eggs empty” or, you know, and not looking like you're not contributing. I think that's something that I've struggled with in the past, you know, I don't want to look like I'm not contributing, but it really is about the waste. So, kind of getting that across. Maybe you're the one that hosts instead of going to someone else's house, so you can kind of control that.

JESSICA: I would ask our listeners too, if anyone knows of a sustainable alternative to the traditional plastic Easter egg I would love to know what it is, I've never come across it. But, I would, you know, obviously not having an Easter egg hunt is one, but, you know, I'm about two hundred and fifty plastic eggs deep at this point, s having a hunt doesn't really cost me anything. But I will never buy another plastic egg, I can tell you that right now.

KIM: Yeah there's plenty of them out there, that's very true.

JESSICA: What about Halloween?

KIM: Yeah costumes is a big one here, because most of the time they are made pretty crappy.  They get a hole in them right away, that’s happened to me two Halloween's in a row for my daughter's costumes and, you know, they're not reusable. So, I think a good option here is buying secondhand and donating your old costumes. There are some very handy parents, moms out there that make their own costumes that are, you know, maybe a little bit more eco-friendly, buying the, you know, the fabric themselves and doing the patterns and all that, but they're pretty wasteful all and all.

JESSICA: I think I have, you know, three-handed PJ masks running around. I mean, before it was even Halloween, they lost a glove or a belt or a mask or, you know, there's just so many bits and parts to these things you can't keep them all together and they don't want to wear them again. So, you know, it's just not a good use. My stepmother used to make our costumes and she would get some cardboard paper and you know make these cutouts and they were clever and they were witty and they were funny, but they weren't $70 from Amazon and you open it up and it smells like a chemical factory. And then the accessories. You go and buy these plastic swords, your kids are impaling each other for five days leading up to Halloween and then they don't want to use this sword anymore, it's just a waste. So, as you said, I think donating costumes or asking around, friends and family, neighbors if they have something is a better idea than, you know, going straight to Spirit Halloween or whatever it is.

KIM: And then a couple of things that we talked about on the Christmas side that would apply here would be decorations. Finding more nature-based options or, you know, something that you can reuse every year, and then the candy side of things that is similar to what we talked about for Easter. There’s just so much candy that's bought, so much candy that's actually thrown away because nobody wants their kids to actually eat that much candy.

JESSICA: This year we actually had someone in the neighborhood who was collecting Halloween candy for the USO. So, we brought all the candy down, dropped it off and then they shipped it to service members overseas.

KIM: That’s so smart. Every neighborhood needs a person like that.

JESSICA: Yeah, and if you don't have a neighbor that you know is doing it, then maybe if you're on a Nextdoor site or something, you know, just check out your local Nextdoor and see if someone's doing it or just do a Google search to see if someone's doing it. You mentioned decorations. The one that kills me is New Year's. Because every year, the decorations say, “Welcome 2019,” right.

KIM: Right can't use that one again.

JESSICA: I know, so, you got these glasses with 2019 across the top that are going to get thrown away and they're plastic. Those popper things, I don't even know what those are for. There should be an app for that.

KIM: There probably is. Yeah, there's a lot of decoration waste with all these holidays. Specifically, that one because of the reason that you mentioned. There's a lot of things that all of these holidays, especially if you're hosting parties, with New Year’s, we always do like a kind of appetizer thing and then we go out to dinner, we'll have like an appetizer hosted at one of our friends’ houses and guess what it is? Plastic utensils, plastic plates, plastic everything and then all that stuff just goes in the trash. It doesn't get recycled. It’s all going to go in the trash. So, some great options there are to use either compostable or recyclable or just reusable. You probably have enough plates in your house that would serve all of those guests.

JESSICA: You can economically get bulk, like, bamboo-type plates and stuff that are really great for parties and things like that. And that's actually a great idea for a gift that I'm doing for some of the people on my list this year is getting them reusable bamboo cutlery. So, you know that especially, you know, I have some nieces and nephews that are school age in high school who really care about the environment and, you know, they don't, they get plasticware at school all the time. So, they want their own straw, they want their fork and knife set. They’re available eco-friendly, they're on Amazon and they're a really great gift for them, that kind of teenager who's just coming into their environmental mindset.

KIM: I love that for that age group to kind of get them going.

JESSICA: All right, well I think those are some good ideas as we go into Christmas, just to kind of shift your guy’s mindset, it's not meant to say, “here are the things you have to change.” It’s just, look at the holidays through a different lens. Look at it through the amount of waste and the good that you could be doing and the feel-good part of giving a gift is already there. But with Amazon and all these shopping services, everything is at your fingertips. You can get anything you want at any time. So really push the envelope and think about how you can feel good about making that person happy but also be doing something good for the environment at the same time, right, and have them participate in that, right? I have a reusable fork and knife, or Jessica donated $20 to the Water Conservancy, on my behalf, in the country that my grandmother was born in or something like that. You know, just those thoughtful gifts that just kind of go that extra step.

KIM: And we mentioned this before, but we'd love to have our listeners, kind of, start a conversation on our transcript page, on our podcast page, on our website and also on Facebook. So, after you listen to that episode just go to our website or to our Facebook page and comment there. We’d love to hear some ideas from you or answer any questions that you might have.

JESSICA: So, ideas on what you might do to green up your holidays and, you know, any ideas that you might have based on what we talked about here or, you know, any challenges that you have two things that we've said here as to, you know, whether those are good ideas or not. We welcome any and all comments.

KIM: Thanks so much for listening. This is Build Green Live Green. 

For a written manuscript of this episode as well as supporting resources, visit our website at www.caragreen.com/podcast. Want to know more about a specific industry related topic? Shoot us an email at social@caragreen.com. 

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