From too much food to a trash can full of wrapping paper, you can create a lot of waste during the holidays if you aren’t careful. With a little forethought, however, you can limit the amount of waste you create during this holiday season. Here are ten easy ways to do it.
1. Always carry reusable bags with you. You’ll probably do more shopping between now and the New Year than at any other time of the year. All those one-time use shopping bags add up to a lot of waste. Carry reusable bags with you like ChicoBags that are compact and go anywhere.
2. Save plastic food containers to send leftovers home with guests. Wash plastic food containers that would otherwise get thrown away and stash them away for when you want to send party leftovers home with friends and family. You’ll get a second use out of them and eliminate the need to buy zipper bags or plastic containers. Your guests won’t need to worry about returning the containers to you, either.
3. Look for gifts without a lot of useless packaging. If you’re stuck deciding between two equally appropriate gifts for someone on your holiday list, let the amount of packaging be the deciding factor. The gift with the least amount of packaging that needs to be thrown away wins.
4. Freecycle any reusable packing materials. If you do a lot of online shopping, you’ll end up with boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts and other materials that are perfectly reusable. If you aren’t going to reuse them yourself, don’t trash them. Freecycle them. Offer them up for free to someone in your area that will come by and pick them up. There are many people that sell on eBay that will be thrilled with your leftover packaging.
5. Save clothing boxes, gift bags, and other reusable items to use again next year. As soon as the gift opening frenzy is over, collect what is reusable. Break down clothing boxes and fold gift bags so they lie flat. Put them somewhere where they won’t get damaged until they can be used again.
6. Recycle gift wrap that can’t be used. Make sure that wrapping paper ends up in the recycle bin, not the trash can.
7. If it’s time for new holiday lights, buy LED lights. They’ll keep you from wasting more electricity than is necessary. LED lights can be 80 percent more efficient than transitional incandescent lights and last decades longer.
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