With Christmas near, it is inevitable that there will be an abundance of garbage bags full of wrapping paper and packaging in the days towards the end of December. There are numerous ways to reduce and re-use during this holiday season with some thoughtful planning and creative thinking. ‘Tis the season where more material is thrown away than any other time of year, so let’s all be more resourceful by re-using and recycling this Christmas!
Christmas Cards and Decorations
1. Christmas Cards: Send your Christmas cards via email (E-card), buy cards made of eco-friendly stock, or use a holiday photo card which may be used as a keepsake instead of thrown away. If you get a lot of Christmas cards in the mail, use them the next year for kids’ Christmas activities or crafts such as homemade gift tags.
2. Holiday Decorations: Before throwing out old Christmas decorations, consider if someone else may appreciate them. Donate them to a thrift store like the Salvation Army or other organizations if they are in acceptable condition. Even old Christmas lights are readily accepted for recycling or trade-in now in exchange for the more energy efficient LED lights.
3. Christmas Trees: Don’t throw away your natural Christmas tree. Most areas have some Christmas tree recycling options such as curbside recycling, non-proft pickups, or other creative ways to re-use Christmas trees such as mulching programs, soil erosion barriers, and bird feeders.
4. Re-Usable Shopping Bags: Just like any time of year, utilize re-usable shopping bags to reduce the number of plastic bags that are thrown in the trash later.
5. Gift certificates: Gift cards are a great way to minimize waste and drive down your transportation footprint by keeping business local.
6. Handmade Christmas gifts: Get creative (or help your kids get creative) with Christmas crafts and holiday baking. Homemade Christmas gifts like goodies, bread or Christmas ornaments and decorations made of materials around your home make meaningful and resourceful gifts.
7. Buy earth-friendly gifts: Consider giving green gifts, or gifts made of durable materials or recycled content to minimize the impact on the environment.
Christmas Wrapping & Packaging
8. Gift Wrapping Paper: Most Christmas wrapping papers are not recyclable, especially if they are made of foil or metallic materials. Purchase wrapping paper made of recycled material whenever possible or have kids draw or paint their own designs on paper shopping bags for a fun Christmas activity. Other green wrapping paper substitutes include the Sunday comics or the Sports section of your newspaper.
9. Gift Tags: Make your own gift tags using recycled wrapping paper or last year’s Christmas cards.
10. Wrapping Accessories: Re-use ribbons, bows, gift bags, and boxes whenever you can. Reusing ribbon may seem like a small step, but if every family in the US re-used just 2 feet of holiday ribbon, it would save 38,000 miles of ribbon and tie a bow around the planet!
Anytime of year, but especially Christmas, is a perfect time to practice your green recycling habits. Make recycling during Christmas a new holiday tradition for your family.
What other ideas do you have for making your Christmas a little more green and earth-friendly? How does your family or workplace recycle during the holiday season?