The holidays are often considered “the most wonderful time of the year.” However, they also result in a lot of extra waste. In fact, household waste increases by more than roughly 25% from the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period compared to the rest of the year. The good news is that we have come up with a few minor changes that you can make to your holiday traditions to help reduce this waste and protect the environment.
Bring Your Own Bags
When the time comes to start shopping for the best deals on the latest gifts, remember to bring reusable totes along! If you have a hard time remembering to grab your cloth or mesh bags, try leaving them in the car so they are ready to be used when you want to hit the mall. This simple change can help significantly reduce waste.
Wrap and Pack with Purpose
Did you know that more than 8,000 tons of wrapping paper are used during the holiday season each year? This is equal to roughly 50,000 trees. Using disposable paper or bags can also be very costly. Instead of covering your presents in store-bought gift wrap, try using material that you already have at home. Newspaper comics, calendars, posters, and maps are great options for this and can make for a unique conversation starter. You can also try presenting your gifts in a reusable basket, tin, or box that can be used again and again. There are so many great alternatives to high-cost, singles-use gift wraps. Whatever you choose to wrap your gifts in, do it with purpose!
Deck the Halls Sustainably
Another way to go green during the holidays is to keep your decorations simple and repurpose things that you have on hand. Instead of going out and buying plastic garland, try making your own out of popcorn or berries. This can then be placed outside for birds and other critters to enjoy after the holidays. When deciding on a tree, consider using a real tree and have it composted when the season is over. Trees and other organic decor are used to make mulch and compost at our facility.
The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility makes it easy for the public to recycle their trees after the holidays with our FREE Christmas Tree Drop-Off program taking place December 26-January 27. Simply remove all non-compostable ornaments, tinsel, flocking, and other decorations and bring in your organic trees, garlands, and spruce tops to the facility Monday-Friday from 8am-3pm.
Going green doesn’t have take the joy and fun out of the holidays. In fact, it adds to it! Before you deck the halls this year, be sure to think about your impact on the environment. By making small changes to your holiday routine, it will be easy to practice more sustainable efforts throughout the year.