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Plastic-Free Living

Low-Waste Holiday Traditions with Our Co-Founder, Sarah Paiji Yoo

Sarah Paiji Yoo, Co-Founder and CEO

December 16, 2022

If you’ve read our other blog posts, receive our emails, or follow us on social media, then you’ve likely already heard or read that the holidays create a lot of waste. (But, ICYMI, it’s about 25% more waste than usual between Christmas and New Years!) Since making the transition to lead a more waste-free lifestyle, I’ve found that the holidays and celebrations in general are somewhere where you can easily make small changes and start new traditions that help cut back on that waste.

As always, if you already have items that still work or are in good condition, don’t toss them just to replace them with these ideas! The most sustainable choice you can make is to use what you have (until you no longer can) and then swap them out for a more eco alternative. So, when that time comes, here are some easy ways I make my holiday celebrations a little more planet-friendly.


  • Switch to rechargeable batteries: Alkaline batteries aren’t recyclable and most can only be used once which creates a lot of waste when you have kids.
  • Shop small or get crafty. I love to support other small businesses, especially ones with sustainable initiatives. My other go-to gift is something heartfelt that will last—photo books, framing my kids’ art, etc.
  • Gift items people will actually use. I love gifting food like good coffee (in compostable bags), loose leaf tea (in tins), small-batch chocolates or candles or local jams in glass. A few more that are good for stocking stuffers: silk floss, sustainable underwear and socks.
  • Gift items that may inspire more sustainable habits. For instance, a beautiful set of linen napkins or inspiring books like Braiding Sweetgrass and All We Can Save. Bonus points if you get them at a local small business.


  • Plan portions. I try to portion out just enough for each person and then a little extra (two plates), just in case someone needs more or someone brings an unexpected guest.
  • Use the real dishes and linens. Not only are you saving on waste, it helps make the meal feel extra special as well. Not to mention you have Blueland to help you clean up.
  • Send extras home. Who says you have to keep the leftovers? I actually ask my family to bring tupperware with them to take leftovers back home in and they’re excited to do it!


  • Opt for natural materials and things you already own to decorate. My new favorite centerpiece is beautiful fruit that my kids can enjoy later.
  • Go for LED lights. They use 80% less energy than regular lights and typically last about 10 years longer as well.
  • Make buying new decor more thoughtful. The great thing about holiday decor is you can save it and use it year after year. Instead of buying trend-driven plastic ornaments and decor, take time to buy fewer pieces you really love or are meaningful. It's become a tradition for us to let the kids choose a special ornament each year at our local holiday market after a day of ice skating and hot cocoa. We also buy ornaments as souvenirs when we travel.

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