When Giving Hurts

Global pollution is becoming a standard of holiday traditions.


   Small business ownership is a topic I find myself conversing on often. It’s a subject I am passionate about and has become almost an extension of who I am–a personality trait, if you will. I own Cayenne Creations, a business that sells graphic designed pieces, stickers, keychains, earrings, bows and various other creations. From my entrepreneurial perspective, the holiday season is a time for mass marketing, late nights on the job and finally turning a profit. 

   The dark side to all this–the one rarely talked about–is how all the spending on the accouterments of the season: food, gifts and the wrapping and shipping supplies which go along with them are filling dumpsters and landfills at a massive rate. If we don’t start talking about it and take action, we might not be celebrating at all. 

   Last year, carbon dioxide pollution hit an all time high according to Climate.gov. Much of this is caused by packaging. This can come from fast food restaurants, large corporations and small businesses. As an owner of the latter, I try to mitigate waste by using less packaging on my orders, but I can’t say the same for all of my counterparts. Businesses often take the phrase “go big or go home” literally and use excessive packaging to give their products added flare, examples of which include glitter and stickers. 

   While some argue small business’ biggest contributor toward pollution is energy use, many businesses don’t rely on machines or extensive lighting to do their work. And although shipping releases large amounts of carbon offsets, removing one business from the mix won’t curb the trend enough to stop it.     

        The best we can do–as both business owners and students–is find creative solutions to the pollution crisis. We all have to do our part. What this looks like for you may be different than for me. Start small by adding recycling to your daily habits, carrying reusable bags with you when you shop and asking vendors not to add additional plastic packaging or stickers to orders you place online. Try to find local businesses to fulfill your needs. 

   These are just a few ideas as we head into the holiday season. To put a stop to pollution, it’s time we go back to the basics.