Believe it or not, our wrapping paper, decorations, shipping materials, etc. turns into 25 million tons of solid waste—and paper is just the beginning.
Catalog Choice, an organization dedicated to helping us all reduce our waste (catalogchoice.org) has compiled their top 10 ideas for holiday waste reduction. We can all make a dent in what we throw away and help those poor Central Disposal workers who are charged with picking up our discarded stuff.
Reuse foam peanuts: they can’t be composted, so please use them again.
Compost your leftover food: go to the Sustainable Shawnee website for composting tips. Basically, avoid animal products, but all other foodstuffs can be mixed with leaves or sawdust in a 50-50 ration, watered and turned over occasionally. Great fertilizer!
Wrap creatively: use comics, old maps, sheet music, fabric and wallpaper scraps as well as food containers and boxes that you might ordinarily recycle or throw away. Get creative!.
Make festive recycling bins: they are great for your holiday parties, when you can rewash your plastic dinnerware and glasses and use again and again and again.
Give a gift of time or talent: take someone to a play, concert or movie. Make your own gift certificates and offer your talents (driving, photography, financial planning, etc.)
Help your friends go green: give planet-conscious gifts like compost bins, can crushers, water timers, programmable thermostats, rain barrels, bird feeders, light timers or bat house.
Buy outdoor light strands that are wired in parallel: if one bulb goes bad, the others still work, so you won’t be throwing away entire strands.
Keep it simple: one thoughtful gift is better than six unwanted gifts.
Don’t wrap oversized gifts: hide them and give clues. Have a treasure hunt!
Plan previously-loved or homemade gift exchanges: books, foods, refurbished items can be cherished as much as something new and shiny.