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HomeEnergy & MeGet the (biodegradable) confetti out! How to welcome 2024 sustainably

Get the (biodegradable) confetti out! How to welcome 2024 sustainably

The scenes of wildfires in Italy and Greece or floods in Germany seen this year were perhaps a true turning point for many Europeans who had previously not given much thought to climate change and its impact. These events once again screamed the urgent need for change – not only for policymakers but also for everyone who calls Europe home.

While the exact parameters of how this change is to be shaped are still being debated on many fronts, welcoming 2024 in a more sustainable way could certainly be a great starting point for everyone.

From plastic to food waste, the holiday season is synonymous with a spike in household waste across the world. Looking over the Atlantic, Americans produce 25 per cent more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, according to a study from the Ecology Center.

As the Ecology Center study pointed out, around 1.7 kg of carbon emissions and 0.6 kg of fossil fuel are used to make one 0.4 kg of wrapping paper. However, according to the study, this is a “gross underestimation” of the environmental impact as it does not include emissions from packing and transportation from foreign countries and other toxic emissions in producing colourful, glossy and/or glittery wrapping paper.

Unfortunately, peak waste generation does not stop after we unwrap our presents. From decorations to bright lights and food – making small but fun and creative changes for the upcoming New Year’s Celebrations could make a real difference for a greener New Year.

Keeping it greener and cleaner for 2024

The digital transformation, as we previously noted in our guide on plastic pollution during the festive season, presents many new and creative ways to hit the green switch. Instead of sending out fancy paper invitations, create a Facebook event group or a WhatsApp chat – digital invitations can be decorated (digitally) with sparkling glitter, too!

Do you know someone who likes to wash up the day after a New Year’s Party? Neither do I. That is why so many of us opt for disposables, as they usually take a few seconds to throw away in the rubbish bag. Whilst reusable plates, cups or cutlery are the most obvious alternatives, remember to consider biodegradable alternatives.

Biodegradable items can be slightly more expensive and/or less available in smaller cities – but with the right online shopping tricks, you can find the perfect set for a zero-waste party. When e-shopping, do not forget to add biodegradable confetti to your virtual shopping cart!

Using old materials to make new decorations is another great alternative to keep the party green and clean. For example, instead of throwing out that use wine bottles, consider turning them into a candle holder. Maybe even add “Happy New Year’s Eve 2024” on it to make it just that little bit special – and, of course, there are no shortages of supply for next year: bottles after this year’s party will be perfect for decorations to welcome 2025.

Last, but not by any measure the least, are “green resolutions.” Before the party, prepare a list of eco-friendly goals for 2024 – whether that is buying an electric car, limiting food waste or taking the train (where possible) on the upcoming summer holiday trip. Encourage the guests to prepare their own green resolutions and share your ideas together whilst counting down to midnight!

Closing the circle: European food waste circularity as a solution to today’s crises?

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