Tips to Reduce Waste During the Holiday Season

November 30, 2022

It’s officially the holiday season, which means gathering with loved ones for festivities, food, and fun. This season is the perfect time to celebrate and reflect on the things that are important to us, including the environment. According to the EPA, it’s estimated that every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans will throw out an extra 25% of trash, amounting to almost 1 million pounds a week headed for the landfill. The good news is there are many ways to reduce waste.

Use your own shopping bags

Remember to carry reusable bags with you when you’re out looking for the perfect holiday gifts or grocery shopping for a party or big feast. And if you don’t have a reusable bag, opt for a paper bag that can be reused and recycled.

Wrap in recyclable materials

Select wrapping paper that can be recycled or reused in the future. Regular and glossy wrapping paper is recyclable unless it has non-paper additives like metallic flakes, colored shapes, glitter, and plastics. Cardboard shipping boxes and brown paper are also recyclable. Reusable bags and boxes, newspapers, and cloth are also great ways to keep presents hidden.

Give gifts of experience

The best way to make sure your gift doesn’t end up in the trash, and then the landfill, is to give something that can’t be thrown away! E-gift cards, classes, and memberships, or tickets to plays, movies, concerts, and sporting events are great alternatives to physical gifts that may break or wear out and end up in the trash.

Think “reduce, reuse, and recycle” at the dinner table

Before heading out to grab new cutlery, glasses, and tableware, take a look around your home to see if there’s anything you already own that you can use this year. If not, opt for reusable cutlery and replace one-time use plastic cups with small, washable glasses or jars. For items that can be recycled, such as popped champagne bottles after New Year’s, don’t forget to rinse them out before putting them in your recycling bin.

Reduce food waste

The first step in reducing food waste is to have a plan. During the holidays, grocery stores display tons of delicious meals and treats, making it easy to get carried away and buy things we don’t need. Whether you’re making the majority of a meal or just a side or two, take a minute to create a list of only things you need so you aren’t tempted to splurge on extra goodies. After your meal, store leftovers in reusable containers to enjoy over the next few days.

There are many other ways to reduce your waste this holiday season, so while you’re enjoying time with friends and family, take an extra second to consider how you can help make a difference.

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