During the holidays, Americans use about 4 million tons of wrapping paper and gift bags and that is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of waste. According to the EPA, household waste increases by more than 25% over the holidays. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all add up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills.
So what can you do? Here are some tips to help you cut down holiday waste and have a greener holiday season.
1. Give the gift of time or an experience: A homemade certificate for helping dig a garden, creating a picnic, or providing pet-sitting services is great for the person who could use an extra hand. Personally, the gift of babysitting my children would be appreciated! Tickets to concerts, plays, or sporting events; memberships to museums, art galleries, or science centers are also great gifts that will bring lasting memories. A donation in the recipient’s name to a cause or organization he or she is passionate about is also a thoughtful gift.
2. Creative wrapping: If you do have a gift to wrap, get creative and reuse what you have on hand, such as newspaper, magazine pages, comics, or even maps. Gift bags can also be reused over and over again.
3. Go LED: LED lights use 90% less energy than traditional Christmas lights, are more durable, and last 10 times longer.
4. Real vs fake: If you celebrate with a tree, real vs fake can be a true debate. Read this past blog to help you make a more environmentally friendly choice.
5. Waste less food: Plan your meal carefully and don’t buy extra food you might not need. Give guests leftovers to take home or give care packages to neighbors. Compost food waste (best not to include meat scraps and oily things) and vegetable peeling. Set your table with reusable dishes, utensils, and cloth napkins and tablecloths.
Photo from here, with thanks.