It is the holiday season, the season of giving and receiving, time for family, friends, and fun. One of the side effects of all of these festivities is extra trash. In fact, as Americans, we produce 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Years than we do any other time of the year. Americans send enough Christmas cards to family and friends each year to fill a football field – 10 stories high. We go through enough ribbon during the season to wrap our planet in a bow. Not to mention all of the wrapping and extra packaging that comes along with gift giving. So, in keeping with the theme of the season, here are a few tips to give back to our environment this holiday season by creating less trash and recycling more.
- Use LED lights on your tree and home and set them up on a timer
- Donate unwanted ornaments or purchase new to you ornaments from a thrift store
- Consider purchasing a tree to decorate in your home that can be planted in the future
- Purchase wrapping paper made from recycled materials or paper than can be recycled
- Use old paper bags for wrapping paper, let your kids (or you) decorate with wrapping paper scraps or last year’s Christmas cards
- Be creative with your wrapping – wrap in a reusable shopping bag so your recipient can be green all year long
- Purchase gifts locally
- Recycle any cardboard or plastic packaging that is accepted
- Give more time instead and less things (for example: offers to make dinner, rake leaves, wash their car)
- Carefully prepare meals to avoid leftovers, or send leftovers you will not eat home with guests. You can also donate leftover food to shelters.
- Recycle your old and non-working Christmas lights. In St. Louis you can drop off your holiday lights at many locations thanks to the St. Louis Green Holiday Lights Drive, find a location here
- Don’t throw away your Scotch tape dispensers, recycle them through Terracycle here
- Was your packaging full of peanuts instead of popping bubbles? Bummer, but you can find a place that will reuse your packing peanuts by entering your location at this site
We hope you have a joyous holiday season and may these tips help make your holidays merry, green and light!