Tips for Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling During the Holiday Season
Did you know? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the average American household throws away nearly 125 pounds of trash per week. From Thanksgiving to New Year's, Americans discard 25% more trash than normal, or approximately 940 pounds of waste. Roughly 80% of what is discarded during the holidays could be recycled or reused.
Top 7 Sustainability Tips
- Recycle wrapping paper, even the sparkly stuff!
- Don't trash the ribbons and bows, reuse them!
- Recycle paper bags, Reuse or trash laminated bags.
- Put down the pen and paper - email your holiday card.
- Instead of popping the bubble wrap, save and reuse it!
- Remember to separate paper and plastic before you recycle.
- As an alternative to packing material, using shredded paper works just as well.
Save the Environment While Entertaining Your Guests
- Send email invitations, or for more formal occasions, use post-consumer recycled paper
- Minimize food waste by carefully planning your menu
- Use durable, reusable plates, and serving ware when possible
- Make your own refreshments to cut down on excess packaging
*According to the EPA, more food ends up in landfills than any other single item. Only 5% of the nation's food waste is diverted from landfills for composting.
Spread Holiday Cheer Through Thoughtful Gifting
- Consider gifts that are environmentally friendly and sustainable with minimal packaging
- Save used gift wrap, gift bags, ribbons, and bows for reuse
- Repurpose packaging such as foam peanuts and bubble wrap - start your own packing storage box to store these materials for future use
Decorations Can Be Useful After The Holiday Season Too!
- Be resourceful - consider repurposing recycled items like glass bottles and aluminum cans, or discarded household items, like light bulbs, into unique holiday crafts, gifts, and decorations
(Quick tip: Look to Pinterest for creative do-it-yourself craft ideas)
- Consider planting your holiday tree in your yard, or recycle it using the services provided in your community
- If you have a cut tree, consider using it as mulch
- Boxes (gift, shoe, and shipping)
- Wrapping paper (plain or sparkly)
- Tissue paper
- Holiday cards and envelopes (without embellishments)
- Gift bags (paper)
Better to Reuse or Dispose
- Bubble wrap
- Ribbons and bows
- Gift bags (laminated, coated, or dyed)
- Packing peanuts (polystyrene foam)
Important Things To Remember
- Toy packaging made of heavy cardboard is not recyclable unless the cardboard is separated from the plastic
- Sticky gift tags are NOT recyclable by themselves, but they are acceptable if affixed to an envelope or wrapping paper
We encourage families to make recycling a part of their holiday tradition. It's a simple way to make a positive difference in the local environment by diverting items that can be recycled. It can also end up saving your family money by identifying items that can be reused in creative ways.
Check with your local provider to confirm which items can be recycled in your community, especially for holiday collection times or special instructions on Christmas tree recycling.