We produce approximately 25 percent more trash during the holiday season (from Thanksgiving to New Year’s) which equates to around 25 million extra tons of waste.
Follow these handy tips for a greener, more sustainable holiday:
- When buying presents, keep an eye out for those with minimal packaging, or items packed in recycled or recyclable materials (e.g. cardboard).
- Don’t throw your wrapping paper in the garbage or fireplace. More than 8,000 ton of wrapping paper will be used on presents, using the equivalent of 50,000 trees. Reuse or recycle!
- Buy recycled wrapping paper and holiday cards. Around 744 million holiday cards are sent each holiday season. If all these were made from recycled paper, it would help to save the equivalent of 248,000 trees.
- Buy cards made from paper (not plastic) and without lots of added decorations, as these cards cannot be recycled.
- Send an e-card instead! There are lots of sites offering free holiday e-card services.
- Save and reuse cards that you receive as gift tags for next year.
- If you are buying toys or electrical goods that need batteries, buy rechargeable ones, then add a battery charger to your shopping list. Make sure to recycle those old batteries instead of tossing them. Battery Solutions is a great service for this.
- Most people buy too much food at for holiday gatherings, much of which goes to waste. This year, try to plan your meals and only buy what you need. Alternatively, put a compost binon your shopping list, significantly reducing the trash going to landfill.
- When buying your food, buy local, organic or fair-trade. A traditional dinner that uses local seasonal produce and food from a local market or grocer helps reduce “food miles” (the distance food travels to reach your plate).
- Buy loose rather than pre-packed vegetables – it will help cut down on packaging that gets thrown away.
- Recycle your beverage containers, including bottles from wine and plastic egg nog containers.
- When you have finished eating all your chocolates and biscuits, keep the tins and reuse them as storage containers.
- If you receive electric goods this season, don’t throw your old ones away. Recycle or donate them using Earth911′s recycling locator.
- If you decorate with a tree, buy a locally grown Christmas tree and remember to recycle it after the holidays are over.
- Take public transportation to go Christmas shopping. If using the car, try to make only one, big trip, cutting down on gas consumption and time.
- Around 125,000 tons of plastic packaging are thrown away over the holiday season. Take your own reusable shopping bags when you do your shopping.
- Make your own food-based gifts such as homemade chutneys, cakes or chocolate truffles. You could also make your own flavored organic olive oil, adding dried chillies, garlic or herbs.
- If you’re having a party, avoid serving food and drinks on disposable plates and cups. If you don’t have enough reusable plates, have everyone bring their own!
- Take any unwanted gifts to a Goodwill location or list them on sites like eBay or Craigslist. A Goodwill close to you can be found using Earth911′s recycling locator.
- Make your New Year’s resolution to live more sustainably in 2012!
image: designed by rolan veniegas