Reduce Waste Generated During the Holidays

According to Use Less Stuff (ULS), extra holiday waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about one million extra tons per week.

The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about one million extra tons per week. (according to Use Less Stuff (ULS))

Tips to reduce paper products and changing your gift-giving focus: 

  • Be selective when deciding how many holiday cards to send.
  • Reuse packaging cartons and shipping materials.
  • Buy outdoor light strands that are wired in parallel. If one bulb goes bad, the others still work, so you won’t be throwing away “bad” strands.
  • Put all your lights on timers for energy savings and peace of mind while you’re away.
  • Recycle unwanted and duplicated gifts by promptly exchanging them or giving them to a local charity.
  • Keep it simple: one thoughtful gift is better than six wrapped packages of unwanted gifts. Plan ahead.
  • Children can give coupons for their time as Christmas presents in ways such as taking on extra chores, cooking dinners, watching a younger sibling or giving plenty of hugs and kisses.
  • Give the gift of an experience: music lessons, lessons for a new hobby, a massage, a trip to a state park, or tickets to a sporting event or play. This is perfect for friends who want to try something new but aren’t willing to spend the money on themselves. Plus, you don’t have to wrap the gift.
  • Give a monetary donation to a local charity in someone else’s name. Many people feel good knowing that they are helping out someone during the holidays.
  • Invest in your family and friends. Instead of giving a gift, contribute to a child’s savings account, education IRA or give them a U.S. Savings Bond.
  • Don’t wrap gifts. Hide them and give the recipient clues. Make the search a treasure hunt.
  • Make the wrapping a useful part of the gift; put cookies in a flower pot or hide jewelry in a new pair of gloves or socks.

Educational resources

Classroom Posters: 11 x 17 posters include tips on how to reduce waste generated during the holidays.