In the midst of the holiday season – aka the most wasteful time of the year – it’s not unusual to feel some stress over how much we’re all collectively consuming.
But how do we get out from under the festive mountain of tinsel and plastic baubles?
Well, first you have to think differently about these materials we waste, says Pamela Tudge, an INDI PhD student who specializes in critical food studies and design.
"I am interested in the agency of the materials we waste, how they act in the world, and the different ways we can work with them to prevent waste in the long-term," she explains.
Specifically, Tudge studies food waste through the lens of critical design, a process that often employs speculative design proposals to challenge assumptions about the roles of unsustainable materials we use or wasteful practices we perform everyday.
Waste increases dramatically over the holidays
"Christmas is a time that we see waste increase in Canada dramatically, however by redesigning the way we do things, we can prevent this. The holidays can becomes an opportunity to practice everyday habits differently that can carry out for the whole new year ahead," she says.
To help you cut down on holiday overconsumption, the Concordia University Centre of Creative Reuse (CUCCR), founded by fine arts faculty and students, has assembled two helpful lists.
"What I like about these lists is that they cover a wide range of everyday activities at this time of year that are accessible in cost and time. These are easy ideas to incorporate into our lives now."
"Making gifts or even rethinking a holiday dinner are my particular favorites, as they encourage getting to know materials again – whether that is creatively using leftovers or making toys from scraps of fabric," says Tudge.
Have a great holiday and think of these lists as a starting point for great ideas to redesign the holiday season for less waste!