Christmas, Green Living

10 Ways to Reduce Waste this Christmas


It seems that the most wonderful time of the year is also the most wasteful time. Twenty-five percent more waste is generated over Christmas than during any other time of the year and your excess household waste this time of year might be even higher if you have children, thanks to the excessive packaging of children’s toys.

More waste doesn’t need to mean more trash. Being thoughtful about recycling, reusing and composting over the Holidays can make a difference in the amount of trash that heads to the landfill in the weeks following Christmas.

10 Ways to Reduce Waste this Christmas:

1. On Christmas morning, sort wrapping as you go, creating piles for trash, recyclables and reusable ribbon, bags and paper. Tuck them away for next year.

2. Wrapping paper is not recyclable. Not much of it is reusable either, that’s why gift bags are such a great idea. They’re practically indestructible, come in every size imaginable and help keep last minute shoppers (or wrappers) from going off the deep end. Tuck yours away to be reused next year.

3. Cardboard boxes and packaging, as long as they’re not soiled or waxed, can be recycled. Some boxes might be worth saving to reuse at another time. Flatten the boxes you’re going to recycle for easy storage.

4. Save Christmas cards and use them to make gift tags next year.

5. On rigid plastic packaging, look for the recycling symbol with a number in the middle. Any plastic with the numbers 1, 2 or 5 can be recycled. Non labeled plastics need to go in the trash.

6. Don’t give up on basic household composting over the holidays. If you’re hosting a gathering and using disposable plates, buy paper plates and toss those in the compost bin for an easy clean up.

7. Do what you can to reduce food waste. At mealtime (especially for the big feasts) start with a small serving and go back for more if you’re still hungry. Scrape plates into the compost, not the garbage.

8. If you cook a turkey, make stock out of the carcass. If you don’t have time or don’t feel like it over the Holidays just put the carcass in the freezer and make the stock on a day that you’re not feeling rushed.

9. Compost your Christmas tree. Many communities offer a tree mulching service for easy Christmas clean up.

While you’re thinking about ways to reduce trash here’s another idea to help reduce your household stuff in general this time of year: 

10. If you have children, after Christmas put an empty box in your playroom and ask your children to fill it with toys to be given away. You can do the same thing with your stuff too, from clothes to household items.

Christmas is a season of abundance in so many ways. Doing a little extra to reduce the trash can only make room for more joy. Enjoy the Holidays!


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