How to be environmentally conscious when holiday shopping

Some of the biggest shopping days of the year are just days away in the form of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While it is a big-time for deals, it is also a big-time for pollution.

If you want to try and reduce your pollution when shopping this year, a big part of it comes down to knowing what you can and can’t recycle, and shopping with that in mind.

Doctor Molly Nation, an assistant professor of environmental education at FGCU said you should be mindful of what you pick. “It comes back to, you know, being really intentional about the types of things we consume and why we’re consuming them.”

That’s because shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday can put a strain on our environment.

“About 30% of U.S. Waste comes from just packaging items. So that’s plastic and cardboard that it takes to ship those items to you,” said Nation.

Whether you take the sleigh to the store, or Santa’s elves bring the gifts to your door. Nation says it is important to know what to do with those packages and bags once you’re done. “So plastics, one through seven cans, glass bottles, all of those items are recyclable in Lee County, we also are a waste to energy county. So a lot of the items that are going into our trash are actually being used to power a lot of this county.”

And instead of buying new, Nation suggests, “are there other ways that we could get those like through things like secondhand shopping or ‘open box,’ Amazon warehouse, or even thinking about combining some of those orders. You know, do you really need it in two days or two hours?”

For Cat Chase in Lee County, she shops small. “If you can go to your local businesses and then you can take it right out, you don’t have to waste all of that shipping packaging everything. Sometimes you can skip the bag entirely and just take the product with you.”

A small step in hopes of driving bigger change

“I grew up an outdoorsy person, I love to be outside, and once I moved down here, I realized how fragile this ecosystem is,” said Chase.

Lee county has holiday recycling tips. the recommend you save bags, boxes, and tissues to reuse next year, recycle used wrapping paper if it’s not metallic, and break down shipping boxes and gift boxes to recycle as long as they didn’t have liquid in them.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Matthew Seaver
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