Quick Tips for Reducing Holiday Waste

It’s the holiday season – the time when we create more throw-away materials than at any other time of the year. Just because we create it all doesn’t mean we have to throw it all away. With your local curbside or drop off program and other recycling resources, you can make the holiday season the season of recycling: recycle gift boxes, Christmas trees, wrapping paper, cards, junk mail, magazines, catalogs, plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers, and more!

Did You Know?

  • Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday season than any other time of year. This extra garbage amounts to 25 million tons of trash.
  • If every family in the U.S. reused just 2 feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.
  • The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 po high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

How to Have a Greener Holiday Season:

  • Use reusable shopping bags. This will reduce the number of plastic bags that get trashed and minimize the amount of petroleum used to make them. If you receive plastic bags, remember to recycle the clean ones at your local grocery store.
  • Send your holiday greetings in electronic form. E-cards can be enhanced with sound and animation, and they create no physical waste.
  • If you use traditional gift wrapping, avoid wrapping gifts in materials that are not recyclable or reusable, such as foil or metallic papers. Always buy recycled-content wrapping paper. If your store doesn’t sell recycled-content wrapping paper, ask the manager if they could order it in the future. You can also reuse wrapping paper from season to season or use newspaper as an alternative. Gift bags are a great option – they are easy to “wrap” and can be used over and over.
  • If you send holiday cards, buy recycled-content cards and envelopes. Or make your own cards or gift tags out of last year’s cards and the wrapping paper you saved.
  • Remove your name from the mailing list of any catalog you no longer wish to receive.
  • Shipping a gift? Reuse the foam peanuts or packing material from another package.
  • Rechargeable batteries and a battery charger are a great way to cut down on the consumption of batteries.
  • Recycle your tree and wreath.