10 Ways To Reduce Holiday Waste

holiday shoppersFrankly, we’re hoping that the above image of holiday shoppers makes you a tad uncomfortable. To enjoy holidays as greenly as possible, buy or make meaningful gifts that add to joy, not more trash to landfills. Here are 10 ways you can reduce the inevitable waste that accumulates after the last gifts are unwrapped.

It’s not realistic to imagine that all holiday gifts come in biodegradable packaging, or that all the wonderful menus you cook will get eaten up with no leftovers. So here are some tips to tread lighter.

  1. Wrap your gifts in attractive fabric remnants. Wrap gifts in new kitchen towels to make 2 gifts in 1.
  2.  Forget disposables and use real tableware, dishes, napkins and tablecloths for parties.
  3.  Store used tissue paper,  shipping peanuts, and bubble wrap away; reuse next time you need to ship something.  Likewise, store pretty gift boxes and bags that survived the holiday in good shape, as well as  wrapping paper and ribbons.
  4.  When shopping, examine labels and choose products made from recycled materials.
  5. Make a New Year’s resolution to learn how to compost your kitchen scraps – then do it.
  6.  If you plan to make handcrafted gifts, buy your materials in bulk.
  7.  Plan post-holiday menus based on the inevitable leftovers, and then make sure you keep to the plans.
  8. Freeze leftovers that you just can’t face anymore – but don’t wait until they’ve gotten old in the fridge, freeze them as soon as the meal is over.
  9. For last-minute hostess gifts, remember that anything looks cool in a mason jar. And of course, the jar is the ultimate recyclable package. Fill a big one with a festive drink and attach a note reading ” Sangria (or Lemonade, or  Martinis) – Just Pour And Add Ice.” Or fill smaller jars with fair-trade chocolates, bath salts, dried mushrooms, sewing items for quick repairs, a manicure set,  – anything useful or delicious.  How about a mason jar filled with personal hygiene or cosmetic items, with a note suggesting that the recipient stash it in the car for travel emergencies?
  10.  Donate items you won’t use up. Anything from food to gift clothes you’ll never wear to books and magazine  you’ve finished. Needy people will appreciate them.

More on reducing waste on Green Prophet:

Photos of  holiday shoppers via Shutterstock.

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