New Year's Eve Is a Generally Wasteful Holiday — Check out These Tips for a Sustainable NYE

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Dec. 29 2023, Updated 10:09 a.m. ET

Piles of confetti and waste on the ground.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • New Year's Eve is an extremely wasteful holiday.
  • There are multiple ways you can make your New Year's Eve celebration eco-friendly and sustainable!
Article continues below advertisement

Although many people are planning for a low-key night in this New Year's Eve, you might feel the urge to ring in the new year with reckless abandon. New Year's Eve is a notoriously wasteful holiday — in 2022, The Cool Down reported that over 3,000 pounds of confetti (and not the biodegradable kind) is wasted each year. Not to mention, visitors to Time's Square in New York City leave behind around 65 tons of waste just from one night.

Whether you're celebrating with your roommates, a few close family members, or alongside your partner, we've compiled a list of tips and tricks to ensure your New Year's Eve celebration produces little to no waste. There's truly no better way to start off the new year than by kicking it sustainably.

Two people celebrating New Year's Eve with confetti, drinks, and hats.
Source: Getty Images

Biodegradable confetti

Although confetti makes any NYE night magical, traditional types are comprised of plastic, which means it could take years to biodegrade. That being said, there are so many low- and zero-waste confetti options.

Plantable "grow-fetti" is studded with wildflower seeds that you can sow and grow when the party's over, while this eucalyptus tissue paper confetti is biodegradable. If you'd rather make your own, though, you can make your own natural confetti with a hole punch and real leaves.

Article continues below advertisement

DIY décor from nature

Woman putting plants on her table for dinner.
Source: Getty Images

New Year's decorations truly make for an eco disaster — they're almost always made of plastic, and often get thrown out after the year is over, especially if they're sporting the current year.

That being said, you can make your own decorations from nature, so they're easily compostable and don't do a number on the environment and your wallet. Make your own birchwood wreath, decorate the fireplace with "bleached" wintry pinecones, or forage for table setting décor.

Article continues below advertisement

DIY upcycled noisemakers

Glass container of beans spilling.
Source: Getty Images

Noisemakers are also environmental travesties, as they're often single-use, and made from plastic and metal. However, you can make your own noisemakers by upcycling a few materials from around the house — make a party horn using a cardboard tube and some compostable parchment paper, or fill a reusable jar with beans. Then, decorate them with colorful construction paper or pine tree twigs to make them extra festive for the holidays.

Article continues below advertisement

Thrift an outfit

Photograph of dresses hanging from plastic hangers.
Source: Getty Images

Even though most of us won't be dancing the night away at a club or wrapping up the year with a legendary concert, dressing up for a night in may sound tantalizing anyway.

If you're seeking out a new 'fit to ring in the new year, we have tips on thrifting and flipping old clothes, as well as an extensive list of thrift stores across the U.S., that may currently have your next gently-used ~lewk~ in stock right now.

Article continues below advertisement

Kick off Veganuary with a plant-based meal

Wrap with lettuce, tomatoes and tortilla on a table.
Source: Getty Images

Veganuary starts in only a few days, so why not kick off your month of complete plant-based eating with a bomb NYE meal that's meat and animal byproduct-free? Vegan TikTok queen Tabitha Brown definitely has some festive recipes on her channel, to ensure you and your guest(s) are well-fed, sans the cost of a life.

This article, originally published on Dec 30, 2020, has been updated.

More from Green Matters

Latest Sustainable Living News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.