We all know that the holiday season is a time of excess. We spend a ton of money on gifts and a ton of time planning and attending holiday parties where, by the end, we leave stuffed to the gills or staring at huge amounts of uneaten food. And wrapping paper…so much wrapping paper. So, how do we try and make our holidays more efficient and less wasteful? Here are a few tips from your recycling partners at Grenelefe Recyclers to help you reduce the nearly one million tons of extra waste generated each week between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

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Wrap Gifts Sustainably

Not everyone needs to have their gifts wrapped — just the thought that you put into gift-giving is more than enough for most people because, apart from the tradition of wrapping gifts, the wrapping does nothing except create waste. Instead of regular wrapping paper, you can swaddle gifts in reusable pieces of cloth or newspaper, or nest a gift in a reusable tin, wood box, or recyclable cardboard.

If you have to use wrapping paper, make sure to buy wrapping paper that isn’t just recyclable, but that is also made out of recycled material. Hopefully those you give those gifts to will recycle the paper again!  

Don’t Waste Food

If you’re in charge of planning your company’s holiday party or you’re preparing all of the food for your extended family, plan better to avoid wasting food. Get accurate head-counts and buy a little less food than you think you’ll need — some people are bound to not show up to the party while others won’t eat as much as you think. If there are leftovers, make everyone take small portions with them, or find a shelter that will use the food to feed hungry people in need.

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Little Ways to Reduce Waste

  • If you have a fake Christmas tree, keep it for as long as possible. When it’s time for a new one, make sure to recycle the old one.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, recycle it after the holidays so that it can be turned into something useful instead of rotting in a landfill.
  • Buy gifts that don’t require wrapping or packaging: take friends out to dinner instead of buying them something, or give them gift certificates so you know they’ll get something that won’t end up in a landfill. An experience will last longer in the mind of the person receiving a gift, but a useless item can last for hundreds of years in a landfill.
  • Turn off your holiday lights when you go to bed and keep them off during the day. No one will be awake to see your light display at three in the morning, and no one can see it when the sun is out. Turn them off when you, your family, and your neighbors aren’t around to enjoy them. And while you’re at it, make sure that you buy the most efficient lights possible, and that they’re made from recycled, or recyclable, materials.

Hopefully this blog gave you some ideas about how to recycle and reduce waste during the holidays. If your business needs a recycling program, contact us at Grenelefe Recyclers now! We can set one up for you, pick up your recyclables, and pay you for them!