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.
Many communities all over the US post lists of holiday waste reduction tips online, so we decided to highlight the best of what we've seen:
Catalog Choice Top 10 Tips for Holiday Waste Reduction
- Reuse foam peanuts. Most packaging materials for shipping can be used more than once.
- Compost your leftover food. It's easy and makes for a great fertilizer.
- Wrap creatively. Use comics, old maps, sheet music, fabric/wallpaper scraps. And use fun tins and food boxes you crush and recycle for gift containers.
- Make festive recycling bins. They're a great addition for your holiday party and a great activity for kids.
- Give the gift of time or talent. Take someone to a play, concert or movie. Make your own gift certificates. Offer your talents like photography or financial planning.
- 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 “bad” strands.
- Keep it simple. One thoughtful gift is better than six wrapped packages of unwanted gifts.
- Don't wrap oversized gifts. Hide them and give clues. Make gift-giving into a treasure hunt.
- Plan previously-loved or homemade gift exchanges. Books, a restored piece of furniture or a rebuilt bike can be cherished for many years and by many people.
'Tis the season to opt out of even more unwanted paper mail! We encourage you to try at least one of these fun tips as you celebrate the spirit of the season—and don't forget to keep opting out of paper mail all year long at www.catalogchoice.org.