Americans throw away 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than other parts of the year, which is about 1 million extra tons of trash each year!
The holiday season is an incredibly wasteful time in our society, but it does not have to be that way. There are some simple things you can do to reduce your waste during the holiday season without sacrificing any of the holiday cheer.
Here are some tips to reduce waste and lessen your impact this holiday season:
- E-cards. Not only will this save you time, but you will help reduce the amount of waste being created during the holidays.
- Buy experiences instead of presents. Once Christmas has come and gone, your loved ones will still have something to look forward to in the way of an experience. Think about learning to dive, this would be a great way to spend time and experience something new with a loved one.
- Re-usable. Use re-usable cups, plates, silverware and utensils instead of using disposable plastic, paper or styrofoam at your party.
- Get creative when wrapping gifts. Try to avoid traditional wrapping paper in favor of "upcycled" newspapers, paper bags, and magazines, or choose reusable gift bags.
- Make the wrapping a useful part of the gift. Put cookies in a flower pot or hide jewelry in a new pair of gloves or socks.
- Use reusable plates and utensils whenever possible. Make sure you recycle plastic plates and cups if you must use them.
- Don’t buy anything plastic unless it’s Lego. Plastic never breaks down long after kids have finished playing with it, but Lego never goes out of date.
- Handmade Christmas. Try edible gifts such as breads, cookies, cakes, dried fruits, nut mixes, jams or jellies. Use your arts and crafts skills to knit a scarf, crochet a hat or mittens, paint a watercolor, or design your own jewelry. You can give more while spending less by giving gifts that are personal and unique.
- LED lights and timers. By now you know that LEDs use about one-tenth of the electricity as old-fashioned incandescent lights. Make sure to remember to put them on timers that turn them off when you go to bed.
- Recycle your old holiday lights. Each year Home Depot offers a holiday light exchange in November or recycle them at your local scrap metal dealer.
- Recycle your tree. It's free and easy! Just remember to remove all ornaments, tinsel, and stands.
Happy holidays! May you maximize your cheer and minimize your waste!