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The holiday season is in full swing, and accompanied with a whirlwind of activity – from gift buying to wrapping gifts to parties to clean-up – all of which creates extra items for your waste and recycling containers. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of the year.
Still, by keeping a few simple tips in mind, you can make a positive impact on the environment. That’s why Waste Management is sharing these tips for greening your holiday season.
- Consider giving no-waste gifts, such as downloadable music, sports lessons, memberships to a gym, symphony or museum, or tickets to a sporting event or concert. Plan an activity that your family or friends can all do together as your gift.
- Buy products made from recycled or organic content, like bags, clothing and other items.
- Consider reduced or no-waste wrapping options. For example, put a large, reusable bow on the gift or place the gift in a reusable bag, like a backpack or purse.
- If disguising your gifts is a must, purchase reusable gift bags, or wrapping paper made with recycled content or from paper only. Foil, metallic or glitter accent wrapping paper isn’t recyclable.
- Store your holiday decorations for reuse each year.
- Make your own decorations from recycled materials. If you’re having kids over for the holidays, have them make ornaments as a special activity.
- If you upgrade your holiday décor, be sure to donate your old décor so other families can enjoy the spirit of the season.
- Send holiday greetings via e-mail or social media – a great way to share photos and memories!
- When entertaining, use washable utensils, plates, glasses, cloth napkins and reusable table covers.
- Have containers where guests can put recyclable, empty cans and bottles.
- Send your guests home with a bonus gift of leftover food packed in reusable containers.
- Make sure your plastic shopping bags go back to local retail stores. Plastic bags don’t belong in curbside recycling bins. Learn more on https://recycleoftenrecycleright.com/no-plastic-bags/.
- For all those holiday shipments direct to your house, be sure to break down your cardboard boxes before placing them in your recycling bin so you have room for all your other recyclables.
- Avoid putting the wrong things in your recycling container. This includes items like bubble wrap and lights, both of which can get tangled in recycling sorting equipment and create a safety hazard for our employees.
- If you have a live Christmas tree, garland or wreath, check with your local community about potential recycling programs, and yard waste or compost collection or drop-off programs.
With just a little imagination and commitment, we can use this holiday season to create new traditions that help preserve the environment, not only for our families, but for future generations. Make sure to keep the basics of recycling a highlight year-round by visiting Waste Management’s Recycle Often. Recycle Right. Website.