News & Updates

You Don’t Need to be the Grinch to be Green During the Holidays

Guest - January 3, 2023

Written by Andrea Allen

For many people the holidays mean connecting and spending time with loved ones, festive meals, and fun activities. Unfortunately, the holiday season can also be a time of year that contributes to a lot of waste. Check out these tips to keep all of the cheer but help minimize your waste this time of year:

1. Gift intentionally
It can be tough knowing what to buy for everyone on your list and sometimes this can lead to items being thrown away later on. A way to help avoid this scenario may be to get someone a gift card which allows them to buy exactly what they may want or need, and they won’t end up with something that could potentially end up in a landfill. Although not as much of a surprise, you could also have people send you a list of things they want or need and choose a gift from there.

Extra tip: Consider gifting experiences such as a family outing, night at the movies, trip to the local park, etc.

2. Wrap responsibly
A big part of the fun this time of year can be trying to guess what’s in a stealthily wrapped package, but did you know that each year 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper is thrown away and ends up in the landfill? A common misconception is that wrapping paper can be recycled along with other paper products. While laminated, shiny, or glittery wrapping paper is unable to be recycled, there are many creative and sustainable ways to wrap a gift and help reduce landfill waste during the holiday season. Try using an old t-shirt or bandana, newspaper or magazine pages, gift bags that can be used more than once, or draw pictures on wrapping paper that is 100% recyclable and compostable. When using regular wrapping pager, try and unwrap gifts carefully so that that paper can be re-used later on.

Extra tip: In the months leading up to the holidays, start collecting any boxes, tissue paper, magazines, etc. so that you have a good variety to choose from once it’s time to wrap.

3. Host sustainably
If having a big meal with friends and family is a part of your traditions, consider using your regular dishes versus disposable plates and cutlery. While it can be tempting to opt for the convenience of plastic utensils and paper or styrofoam plates, this results in more items sent to the landfill after a single use. If you do opt for disposable items, a good alternative if it is available to you, is to use plant-based, biodegradable cutlery that can then be commercially composted.

Extra tip: Although this option may result in a pile of dirty dishes, instill the help of others or turn cleaning the dishes into a game so that this does not end up being a tedious task for the hosts to tackle on their own at the end of the day.

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