Black Friday, Cyber Monday, whatever, is the newest thing this year.

Let me suggest that we don't need it. Instead, consider a "green" holiday season. The average shopper asks for two-day shipping, which leaves a bigger carbon footprint than slower options because it uses less efficient shipping and involves more packaging. On the other hand, online shopping lowers your carbon emissions from driving and those single-use plastic bags. Bargain-priced clothing can harm the environment through the manufacturing process, and the microfibers of plastic in the fabric.

Everything seems to be wrapped in layers of plastic, and much of it ends up in our oceans. Replacing electronics creates e-waste, only 20% of which is recycled.

Whatever holiday you celebrate probably would be enjoyed more if you don’t stress out about satisfying everyone’s desire for stuff, and instead satisfy their need for connections and meaning. Your parents don’t need another anything, the kids definitely have plenty of toys, and the teens don’t need the latest electronic gadget.

Instead consider these options:

Spend your money at stores and on items that reflect your values.

Recycle packaging when you can.

Boycott items with lots of packaging and plastic.

Consider consumable gifts (restaurant or theater gift cards, outdoor activities, music lessons, membership to a local zoo or the national parks).

Give a gift of your time or talent.

Wrap with cloth or newsprint, use gift bags, etc. Avoid gift wrap, as it is not recyclable.

Donate to charity.

Lori O’Dell McCollum

Rock Island


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