Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. This extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra ton of garbage per week. Give the planet a gift, take control of your waste this year.
The Use Less Stuff Report offers a checklist of simple things you can do to reduce waste while you eat, drink, and make merry this holiday season. Here are a few:
- Turn down the heat before your holiday guests arrive. You’ll save energy while the extra body heat of your guests will warm up the room.
- After your holiday parties, don’t throw away the leftovers. Put them in containers and send them home with guests.
At least 28 billion pounds of edible food are wasted each year – or over 100 pounds per person. Putting one less cookie on Santa’s plate will reduce his snacking by about 2 million pounds.
- During the nation’s busiest shopping season, bring your own shopping bags.
- Consolidate your purchases into one bag rather than getting a new bag at each store on your shopping rounds.
If each household canceled 10 mail-order catalogues it would reduce trash by 3.5 pounds per year. If everybody did this, the stack of canceled catalogues would be 2,000 miles high.
- Plan your shopping in advance. Consolidating your shopping trips saves fuel.
- Rather than piling up “stuff” under the tree, think about what friends and family really want or need. Try giving gift certificates if you don’t know what someone wants, or simply make a donation in his or her name to a favorite charity.
- Give gifts that encourage others to use less stuff, like a book about making crafts from reusable items, a cookbook for leftovers, a reusable tote bag and so on.
- For kids, start a savings account or give stocks or bonds. It’s fun to watch money grow and it teaches children the value of financial conservation.
- Donate unwanted gifts, along with last year’s gifts that the kids have outgrown, to charity.
- When buying electronic toys and other portable items that are used regularly, remember to buy rechargeable batteries to go with them.
- Make new tree ornaments out of things you already have around the house, or from materials you might find in the backyard: twigs, bark, flowers and herbs, pine cones and so on.
- Old clothes and jewelry make a great dress-up box for kids.
- Tools and gadgets make a great idea box for a young inventor.
- Give the gift of an experience: tickets to concerts, tickets to a museum, tickets to a sporting event, gift certificates or even gifts of your own time.
- Tie a bow around oversized gifts like bicycles or CD racks, instead of wrapping them in paper.
- Wrap gifts in old maps, newspapers, Sunday comics or fancy holiday gift bags. Kids’ art work is a perfect wrapping for presents to proud grandparents.
- Use brown paper grocery bags to wrap small-to-medium size boxes that have to be mailed.
If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.
- Compost your food waste. Fruits and vegetables and their peels, pits and seeds are all perfect for composting – a great natural fertilizer.
Source: Use Less Stuff
- Consumers Shifting Away from Paper Gift Wrap (prnewswire.com)
- 5 Ways to Wrap Easy for the Holidays (thegreensamaritan.com)
- Green Holiday Guide: Green Your Wrapping (retrohousewifegoesgreen.com)
- Green Gifts Don’t Have to Suck: Green Holiday Gift Guide (blogher.com)
- Ten “Buy/Don’t Buy” Rules for Greener Shopping (biggreenpurse.com)