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Renewable Vibes > News > Sustainable Living > As the holidays draw near, students are actively seeking sustainable and cost-effective methods to maintain their gift-giving practices.

As the holidays draw near, students are actively seeking sustainable and cost-effective methods to maintain their gift-giving practices.

The holiday season is a time of gift giving, gift wrapping, and celebration. However, these festivities often result in a significant increase in waste. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, household waste during the last months of the year can increase by up to 25% due to the holiday season.

Ashley Mathews, a Social Relations and Policy junior and Student Eco Representative with the MSU Department of Sustainability, believes that sustainability during the holidays can take various forms. It can involve minimizing personal waste by purchasing gifts from businesses that prioritize sustainability or regifting items. Mathews also suggests that sustainable gift giving can extend beyond store-bought items. She personally enjoys making gifts for her friends and family and utilizes the MSU Recycling Center Spartan Upcycle events as a resource.

Katherine Deska, who works at the MSU Recycling Center and Surplus Store, emphasizes the importance of reusing and recycling to reduce waste. She encourages people to be creative and use common materials found in their homes, such as plastic cups, jugs, packaging, and cardboard, to make unique gifts. Deska herself has made gifts from items found around her house, such as button flowers and collages made of magazine clippings and photos.

Deska also highlights the financial benefits of reusing items. Particularly for college students on a budget, finding affordable substitutes for gifts and wrapping can alleviate some of the financial pressure during the holiday season. Thrifting is one such option, as it allows individuals to find fun and long-lasting items at a lower cost. Leela Grimsby, a sophomore and secretary of the MSU Thrift Club, appreciates thrifting for its affordability and sustainability. She believes that thrifting provides an opportunity to find high-quality clothes that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Grimsby also points out that shopping second hand offers the chance to find unique and one-of-a-kind gifts. Thrift stores often have items that differ from mainstream, mass-produced gifts, making them more special and personalized.

To promote sustainability during the holidays, Mathews suggests taking an intentional approach to gift wrapping. Instead of using traditional wrapping paper that ends up in the trash, she recommends incorporating the wrapping into the gift itself. Deska shares similar sentiments and suggests reusing wrapping materials from previous gifts, such as ribbons.

In conclusion, there are various ways to make gift giving sustainable and affordable during the holiday season. By minimizing waste, reusing materials, and considering alternative options like thrifting, individuals can contribute to a more environmentally friendly and budget-conscious approach to celebrating.

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