It seems like it was just summer and now the holidays are almost here! I adore Christmas and the whole holiday season but it can come with a lot of waste. In fact, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day household waste increases by more than 25%!
There are some very simple ways that you can help reduce that number and make the holidays a bit greener. These are my top ten tips to help reduce your holiday waste.
- Buy recycled cards. There are so many beautiful recycled cards out there now, even photo cards! When the holidays are over don’t forget to recycle all of the cards you received.
- Use recycled or reusable wrapping. The U.S. generates around four million tons of wrapping and shopping bag waste during the holidays. There are many great alternative options. If you want to stay conventional, there are many companies producing beautiful recycled wrapping paper. You can also reuse items like newspaper, your child’s artwork, wrapping paper from last year, the ideas are endless. And another wonderful option is reusable wrapping. There are a wide range of reusable gift bags, boxes, and other containers available. If you can sew, you can even make your own very easily.
- Use your reusable bags. Part of that four million tons of waste is shopping bags. Most of us have reusable bags, we just need to remember to use them! Stick some in your purse, diaper bag, car, and by the front door to help make sure you remember them.
- Choose reusable and eco-friendly holiday decor. Cheap decor may seem like a good choice in the short term but you save more in the long run if you buy decor you can use year after year. Look for decor that seems to be high quality, uses natural materials, and if possible is made using recycled materials.
- Choose LED Christmas lights. LED lights will help reduce your energy costs and they last a lot longer, creating less waste. Home Depot will even take back your old incandescent Christmas lights and give you coupons for new LED lights.
- Use up those leftovers. Food waste is another big issue during the holidays. Try to make only what you will eat but when you end up with leftovers use them! A quick search on Pinterest will help you find all kinds of great ideas for using up your leftovers.
- Shop locally. Shopping locally is not only better for the environment but also the local economy. Out of every $100 you spend locally $68 returns to the community. Out of $100 spent at a chain only $43 returns to the community.
- Recycle those boxes. When you do order things be sure to recycle the boxes! If you will be mailing things, reuse them. If you don’t need them then recycle them.
- Use real dishes. Disposable dishes create a lot of waste. Even if you have to use some, every bit counts so use the real thing when you can.
- Make memories not trash. This is one of the biggest things we can do not only for the environment but also for our stress level! The gift of time is the best gift you can give. There are so many great ideas out there. My husband and I go on a trip nearby together before Christmas for part of our gifts each year. Memories last so much longer than another gift we really don’t need.
Even if you can’t do all of these things this year, choose at least one thing and it will help make a difference!
Author bio – Lisa Sharp is a housewife that loves all things mid-century and tries to live a green life. She blogs about her love of vintage, being a housewife, and going green at Retro Housewife Goes Green.