Ah…the Holiday season! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s—so much to do! It’s a time that we look forward to…and dread. We may love the sights and sounds of the Season, the parties, food, gifts, and time with family and friends, but, we dread the clean-up and waste. So, how can we enjoy the Season while still reducing the amount of waste that we produce? Here are a few tips to help you make the most, and least, of this wonderful season.
Holiday parties and dinners
If you host a party, set the table with cloth napkins and reusable dishes, glasses, and silverware. Also save and reuse party hats, decorations, and favors.
Be sure your guests know where to properly dispose of and recycle their waste at your party.
After holiday festivities, put leftovers in recyclable containers and share them with family, friends, or others. Donate untouched leftovers from parties to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
After parties, fill your dishwasher up completely before running it. You will run fewer cycles, which saves energy.
Buy ingredients for baking, cooking, etc., in bulk. Take your own reusable containers and stock up on holiday staples. With so much to buy, it makes sense to cut down on packaging waste for those things we need for the Holidays.
When shopping, bring your own reusable bags for carrying your purchases, and try to buy items with minimal packaging and/or made with recycled content.
Wrap gifts in recycled or reused wrapping paper. Also, remember to save or recycle your used wrapping paper. Give gifts that don’t require much packaging, such as concert tickets or gift certificates. For gifts like PJs, sweaters, etc., simply tie them with ribbon to create a festive (and colorful) gift that has almost NO packaging.
Make your own Christmas-themed cloth, draw-string bags for gift-giving. They can be used year after year, and become treasured family heirlooms for generations.
Send recycled-content greeting cards and remember to recycle any paper cards you receive. You can also try sending electronic greeting cards to reduce paper waste.
Make cookies or other goodies (or the ingredients for them), and package them in reusable and/or recyclable containers as gifts. Homemade goodies show how much you care and help you avoid packaging waste.
When gifting flowers, consider buying long-lasting silk flowers, potted plants, or live bushes, shrubs, or trees that can be planted in the Spring.
Give the gift of recycling! Encourage others to recycle by giving them their own recycling bin(s). Use them as “wrapping” for large gifts (don’t forget to attach a colorful bow). And give EnviroPerks rewards that the recipient is sure to love!
Store loose holiday ornaments in Ziploc bags or plastic containers.
For unusually-shaped items, keep the original packaging for later storage.
Wrap small strands of lights around a clothes hanger. Not only will it prevent a tangled mess, you also have a built-in handle! Alternatively, wrap them around a piece of cardboard.
When the big day arrives, there’s no reason to not keep things a bit organized amidst the frenzy. Before Christmas morning, wrap a big box with wrapping paper (leaving the top open and the box empty). Place it near or under the tree. Now you have a pretty place (instead of the floor) to throw all the yards of wrapping paper that your kids will rip off their presents.
Holiday and seasonal wreaths are beautiful (and expensive), but can easily get crushed when stored. Many of us have a variety for Autumn, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Winter, and more, and store them when not in use. Wreath covers (preferably with handles), or wreath storage boxes or bins will protect your treasures for years.
Keep all your gift wrapping supplies in one place. Use a clear container that can be stored underneath a bed for out-of-the-way storage for year-round use. Remember to include scissors and tape.
Consider buying a potted tree that can be planted after the Holiday, or invest in a high-quality artificial tree that will last for years to come. Alternatively, make your own tree from recycled/repurposed materials. Let your imagination go wild!