Green Tips for the Holidays
Though joyous and filled with quality time with family and friends, the holiday season is also one of the most wasteful times of the year, both literally and figuratively. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, household waste typically increases by more than 25%. Everything that we throw away during the holidays — food waste, wrapping paper, Christmas cards, bows, decorations, and shopping bags — all add an extra one million tons of trash per week to local landfills.
However, it doesn’t mean that this trend must continue every year. There are a few simple things that you can do to help minimize your household waste during the holidays without making the occasion any less festive or full of cheer! Here are some excellent ways to go green this holiday season.
1. Use your own shopping bags
Plastic shopping bags are among the biggest sources of waste during the holidays. With increased shopping (whether it be food or gifts) during the holiday season, using a reusable shopping bag instead of collecting more plastic bags at each stop can make a big difference. And with most stores selling reusable bags for about a dollar, picking up another reusable bag if you forget to bring yours is always an option.
2. Wrap your gifts with reusable alternatives.
Did you know that half of the paper consumed in the US is used just to decorate and wrap various items? Since many of us don’t care about the gift wrapper because there’s the present itself to think about, it is definitely mind-blowing that we spend so much time and money on gift wrapping. This is why it is a great idea to use reusable gift wrap like cloth bags or repurposing old newspapers during the holidays. Not only can you use them over and over again (thus, saving you money and enabling you to minimize waste), reusable bags also makes it easier for you to wrap oddly shaped items.
3. Recycle your Christmas tree
Another way to reduce your holiday wastes is to recycle your Christmas tree. You could slice the trunk into coasters and trivets. If you have a compost pile, you can add the tree to it or you can bring it to a local florist to turn it into mulch for your garden. If you don’t have time for any of these things, The Junkluggers can pick up your tree after the holidays and locate a local farm or recycling center that accepts Christmas trees for recycling for you!
4. Skip disposable napkins, cups, and cutlery
Instead of using paper towels and paper plates, as well as cups and utensils made of plastic, you should stick to the real thing – reusable napkins, and everyday plates and cutlery. This may mean an extra round or two in the dishwasher, but it will help to greatly reduce the amount of trash you produce during the holidays. Use this as an excuse to treat yourself and your family and use the fancy China that’s been up in the attic for years!
5. Donate unwanted gifts
According to a survey commissioned by eBay, 60% of Americans will receive an unwanted gift for Christmas and 14% are likely to throw the unwanted gift away. Instead of wasting a perfectly good present you don’t care for or stashing it away at the back of your closet where it will sit for years, consider giving to those in need instead. Not only can you reduce your household waste, you are also able to make the less fortunate happy this holiday season or next. The Junkluggers is always here to help you donate any unwanted items to those in need all year round.