We don’t need an official statistic to tell us that trash in the US increases during the holidays, but some reports say that over 1 million 
tons of extra waste are generated in the United States from Thanksgiving to the New Year!  How can we reduce that number?  It may take some effort on our part, but we can cut back on what we use and throw away during the holidays! 


  • - Not only will ditching store-bought gift wrap save room in the trash bin, but it will also save money! Check out these alternatives from How Stuff Works. In case you must buy something, look for inexpensive reusable tins, boxes and gift bags. 

  • - Besides gift cards, give presents that are about presence:  trips, a year’s pass to a museum or local amusement park, memberships to spas, or concert tickets. 

  • - Thrift-shopping is one way to reuse items, and treasures can be found by visiting them often.  Don’t forget local social media “yard sale” groups, as well as websites that allow people to sell used items. 

  • - Don’t forget the batteries but make them rechargeable! This type of battery is becoming more affordable, especially in the smaller battery sizes, and it keeps nasty battery waste from going to our landfills. 

  • - It is irritating to get the lights up and half a strand dies as soon as they’re plugged in, but don’t throw them out!  Read about how to check them over,, as well as tools that are made specifically for repairing lights.  If they are truly burnt out, find a recycling center for them instead of sending them out with the garbage. 

  • - Break out the “good” dishes instead of using disposables!  Ask everyone to pitch in once the meal is over, and clean-up will be a breeze. 

  • - Food waste is something we don’t think about often, but we can cut back on what we throw away by planning well and thinking creatively with leftovers.  Find helpful tips and recipes, as well as the Guest-Imator tool at savethefood.com. 

  • - Live trees are used in almost half of American homes, but they shouldn’t be sent to a landfill.  Learn about different ways to reuse the tree, or contact a conservation group to see if they can use it for wildlife. 


Cutting back during the holidays goes against what our society tells us about how we should spend these next few weeks, but even little things like using unconventional gift wrapping for just three gifts adds up, according to Visual.ly.  Commit to making three changes this year, and next year, add three more to your list.  Consider it a gift to the environment. 


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