In the U.S., annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals 4 million tons. From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all add up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills (Source: EPA). Reduce your waste this year with our 7 eco-friendly tips for the holidays.
1. Send Electronic Greeting Cards
An estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the United States, enough to fill a football field 10 stories high. Electronic holiday greeting cards, offered through a variety of websites, are a convenient, no-cost, waste-free alternative.
2. Use Energy-Saving Lights
Decorate your house with LED lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights, and can save your family up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season.
3. Recycle Your Christmas Tree
Each year, 10 million Christmas trees end up in the landfill. While your tree won’t fit in the recycling bin with your newspapers and bottles, you can recycle your tree: many cities offer programs to turn your tree to mulch or wood chips. Visit the National Christmas Tree Association to find the tree-recycling program near you.
4. Stuff Your Stockings With Yummy, Natural Treats
Stocking stuffers tend to be small, plastic trinkets that end up broken, lost or in the garbage by the end of January. Instead, fill your stockings with yummy, healthy treats like dried fruit, nuts, clementines and homemade holiday cookies.
5. Reduce Your Food Waste
At least 28 billion pounds of edible food are wasted each year - equating to over 100 pounds per person. Think about how many people you’re feeding and how much they’ll actually eat. If you plan on having leftovers, consider what you make with the left overs. Don’t fall for those “buy three get one free” traps, be realistic about how much you’ll need of something and compost food scraps.
6. Use Repurpose® 100% Plant-Based, Compostable Picnicware
Fossil-based plastics will not biodegrade. They are, however, photodegradable, which means that if they’re exposed to light, they will degrade into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic that are not only swallowed by marine creatures, but become embedded in the zooplankton, the very bottom of the food chain, and thereby poison our food with toxins. Repurpose® products are made from 100% plant-based resins, are toxin free and will break down in 90 days in a commercial composter. Best of all they have the same look and feel as the plates, cups, utensils and bowls you're used to - while still being eco-friendly.
7. Repurpose Repurpose!
If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet (Source: CalRecycle). Use old newspapers and magazines as gift wrap. Snazz it up by making your own bows and ribbons. Try this simple bow tutorial with a Repurpose Hot Cup and Lid box.