Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or the winter solstice, the chances are good that at some points you will revel with friends and family and colleagues during this holiday season. Is there a way to take part in the celebrations and help out the earth at the same time? Of course there is, and here are some fun and practical suggestions.
Gifts make the season exciting, and wouldn't it be fun to make your own unique gift for your families and friends? Or be different by choosing an eco-friendly gift? Say, something durable, reusable, biodegradable, recyclable and organic, especially if it comes from a social enterprise? You can also show your eco-chic creativity by using posters, magazine and comic books for your wrapping paper.
Even better, give the gift that keeps giving (and makes you feel great at the same time) by making a charitable donation in someone else's name. Share the joy and spread the good!
Holidays mean lots of great food with the family and friends, but why ruin a good time by feeling guilty about food waste? It is easy to reduce food waste by estimating the amount of food required and encouraging your friends to take home the leftovers. Even things like buying drinks in bigger bottles can generate less waste in the end. Perhaps consider some vegetarian food options too, especially if they are locally-produced and fresh, since they are good for your health and better for the environment.
No need to buy cheap throwaway decorations for the tree when you can do so much better with a little creativity. You can make these fun decorations with your family and kids (in fact, why not make it a contest to spice things up a bit?). For lights, LED lights are so much better than the old lights, and can save a ton of electricity too.
I have a friend who ALWAYS repackages his gifts and gives them to someone else. I was offended when he gave me back my own gift in new wrapping paper! But on second thought, why hold onto gifts you don't need when you can save yourself the trouble of buying new ones? Even if you don't feel good about "regifting", lots of people would appreciate your generosity if you donate.
Before you leave…
If you are planning to be away from HKUST for a holiday, please remember to turn off your computers and monitors, unplug any cell phone chargers, and make sure lights, printers, and other electronics are off before leaving. We love gifts, but not to the power company!