Buying. Wrapping. Shipping. Decorating. The holiday season is in full swing, and that means all of the waste that goes along it is beginning to pile up.
We’re not trying to be a scrooge. We just want to share some tips for making the holidays a little less wasteful this year.
Here are 10 of our favorite ones – though we’re in favor of anything that makes the season greener:
1. Decline bags.
When you’re shopping, decline bags as often as possible. Bring your own reusable bags or use the bag you received at the first store at the next several stores too.
2. Choose gifts with minimal packaging.
Make a conscious choice to buy products that are minimally packaged or packaged in recyclable materials.
3. Buy recycled wrapping paper or natural wrapping materials.
Or repurpose paper, such as newspapers and magazines, you already have around the house to wrap presents.
4. Wrap with reusable items.
Use a dishtowel or T-shirt to wrap presents or place gifts inside a nice jar or vase.
5. Rethink holiday cards.
Send postcards instead of cards to eliminate the envelope. Even better, send e-cards or make a video call to eliminate paper – and stamps – all together.
6. Give experiences.
Consider gift cards or tickets to movies, restaurants, classes, concerts or sporting events so the recipient experiences something meaningful rather than getting something tangible.
7. Make the donation the gift.
By making charitable holiday donations in friends and family members’ names, you can make them feel good while helping others.
8. Skip single-use dinnerware and cookware.
Just say no to paper and plastic cups, plates and utensils. Use cloth napkins. And serve or transport food in reusable containers. If you’re worried about leaving your favorite dish behind at a party, buy a new one and plan to leave it with the host as a gift.
9. Decorate naturally.
Trim your tree – and maybe even your presents – with pinecones, dried flowers, popcorn garland, berries or shells – things that, if they end up in a landfill, they won’t be there forever.
10. Recycle your tree.
Check with your city on curbside tree pickup days or find a drop-off center in your area. Or buy a potted tree you can plant in your yard later.
And, when the holidays are said and done? Donate clothing, toys and even appliances you no longer need so someone else can get some use out of them. Now that’s smart recycling.