Eco Friendly Hanukkah

Eco Friendly Hanukkah

The holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, is full of celebrations of love, family, gratitude, religious miracles, all culminating with the start of a new year. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic has shined a light on just how much we value our loved ones, our traditions, and being together. 

The downside of all this celebrating is that it is a heavy burden on the earth. According to the Clean Air Partnership, 8,000 tons of wrapping paper are used, which is approximately 50,000 trees. The Clean Air Partnership also states that household waste increases by 25%, and food travels 1,500 miles to get to our tables. Fortunately, we can all help ease this eco-footprint by making small, sustainable changes in how we approach the holidays. In this blog post we will focus on Hanukkah and share ideas about how to have a more sustainable Hanukkah celebration. 

Choosing Organic, Fairtrade Olive Oil on Hanukkah 

Foods cooked in olive oil are an important part of many Hanukkah celebrations. However, not all types of olive oil are as good for the environment as others. In fact, according to Green Matters, “in many Mediterranean countries, non-organic olive oil accounts for large amounts of soil erosion, and is a huge threat environmentally,”

The website Ethical Consumer has a guide to popular brands of olive oil as well as criteria to look for when researching a brand. They suggest reviewing the following questions: Is it organic? Is it Fairtrade? Is it bought from an ethical brand?  Ethical Consumer also provides a list of over 30 brands of olive oil to help you find the most ecological option for your Hanukkah celebration and everyday use. 

Shopping Local for Hanukkah Gifts 

Gift giving on Hanukkah usually means giving one thoughtful, heartfelt gift each day for eight days. This gift-giving tradition is perfect for shopping local and supporting artisans and business owners in your community. Look for local vendor events, farmers markets, and fall festivals for some wonderful shopping opportunities. Small businesses often partner together to offer vendor events that double as fundraisers for various organizations. Downtown areas are also a favorite place to shop local and wander through gift shops and boutiques. 

Some ideas for locally sourced Hanukkah gifts include books from local authors at local bookstores, hand-crafted jewelry, photography from local photographers, hand-knitted gloves and scarves, soy candles, wooden signs, home-décor, homemade soaps, small-batch beauty products, and more. You can also support the local economy in an eco-friendly way by giving local experiences like gift cards to locally owned restaurants, pre-paying for wine-tasting and tea tasting experiences, or purchasing gift cards for treatments at locally owned spas. 

When wrapping your gifts, you can choose eco-friendly wrapping materials like reusable fabric gift bags or wrap using non-traditional wrapping like newspapers or shopping bags that you would otherwise just put into the recycling. Imagine the benefit of reusing that paper once more before it goes to the recycling center! When using unique wrapping materials like these, not only are your choices eco-friendlier, but they are also more creative, unique and personal. 

Eco-friendly Candles for your Hanukkah Menorah

When choosing candles for your Hanukkah menorah, some options are more eco-friendly than others. Parafin candles have been under scrutiny for years, with one 2009 study claiming that they were toxic and a later study (by the candle industry) claiming that they were not. However, when you learn that Parafin wax is a byproduct of the crude oil industry, and that it must go through a lot of processing after it is extracted from the crude oil, it becomes less and less appealing as something we want to burn in our homes. 

Palm oil is also controversial, as substantial deforestation has occurred in order to meet the demands for palm oil. Along with deforestation comes a loss of habit for animal species like chimpanzees, tigers, gibbons, and more animals. Beeswax and soy candles are typically the most eco-friendly options for candles. 

It is important to research where the candle maker gets the wax. Beeswax candles should be made with wax from beehives that are kept humanely and are local to the candlemaker. Soy candles should be made with organic soy wax that is not sprayed with pesticides. Some sources of palm oil are from sustainable sources, you just need to do your research to find out more about the source. You can also sometimes find coconut wax candles, although they are not as common as soy and beeswax candles. 

Share Your Eco-Friendly Hanukkah Ideas with Us

As always, we love to hear from you. Share your own eco-friendly Hanukkah ideas with us on Facebook on the Pure Earth Pets page, or by tagging us with @pureearthpets on Instagram. 

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