A box of chocolates, a bag of cookies, individually wrapped peppermint sticks. All kinds of sweets are bought, exchanged, and sprinkled around houses during the holidays. A little indulgence can be good for us in moderation, so we remember to let loose now and again. It is also a way we can show each other that we are keeping them in our thoughts. Exchanging sweets and sharing in the act of giving reminds us that we are all part of a bigger support system that keeps us going all year long!
Staying conscious of what we are offering as gifts is also important. Each plastic cookie tray that we bring home, even when it is recycled, is contributing to the negative repercussions caused by producing non-biodegradable plastic. That is just one small example of the kind of waste we produce all year long, and especially so during the holidays.
According to a 2013 stat from the B.C. Recycling Council, 545,000 tonnes of waste was the average annual amount created from gift wrapping and shopping bags in B.C. We imagine that number is higher now and is compounded this time of year. Let's do our part to turn it in the other direction!
Instead of picking up pre-packaged sweets, create nostalgic memories of decorating sugar cookies you baked with care. Or picking the perfect candies to line the walk or adorn the roof top of your homemade gingerbread house! Grabbing a template and baking your pieces from scratch will be a fun challenge for you and your family.
Even baking at home creates an impact, and we can adjust the extent of ours based on what products we are supporting. Minimize your impact that much more by consciously sourcing your ingredients. Order your baking supplies from Spud and have them delivered right to your door. They create relationships with sustainably minded food producers to create a curated source of fresh, healthy produce and groceries. Anything you order through them will be humanely and environmentally produced and sourced as locally as possible.
A few suggestions of local and organic must-haves for holiday baking:
- Anita's Flour: organic and sourced from nearby Chilliwack, BC
- Organic Maple Syrup: Canadian made + so much yummier than refined sugar
- Organic Ginger: comes in a recyclable glass jar
- Organic Vanilla Extract: sourced from Kelowna, BC
- Avalon Butter: from a family owned dairy in Burnaby, BC
- Organic Icing Sugar: Fair trade!
Alternatively, you can seek out a zero waste grocery store in your area. For us Salt Spring Islanders, we are proud to have the GREEN Zero Waste Grocery store, the first of it's kind in Canada. In Vancouver, Nada Grocery is currently in a crowdfunding stage, hoping to open soon and in the meantime participating in markets and pop-ups. We bet they would have great resources on where to shop sustainably in the area! Victoria doesn't seem to have a location yet either, but the Burlap Shoe and ZERO Waste Victoria have collaborated to make this list to help you find zero waste options at various stores in and around Victoria.
Stocking your pantry with supplies you know are sustainably sourced will make everything taste that much more delightful! Creating handcrafted holiday treats will also add a festive touch to your home decor. How cute will it be to proudly display your homemade gingerbread house in the corner of your living room or kitchen? Plus, it could create a fun new household tradition for years to come.
Whether is it for gifting, decorating, or indulging in, it doesn't take much to be mindful of where our purchases come from. Apply this mindfullness to your gift giving and receiving as well by sourcing from sustainably conscious companies and asking the same of your relatives. We can lead by example by being a conscious consumer this time of year, and hopefully inspire those around us to do the same. Kindness is the theme of the season, and showing that same kindness to the Earth will ensure we have many more seasons to look forward to!
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