How To Be Less Wasteful This Holiday Season

Because the planet deserves a gift too.

The holiday season of gifting, feasting and partying comes with a lot of wasteful baggage. Americans throw away about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, equating to about one million extra tons of garbage each week.

By making conscious small green changes we can easily reduce the extra waste we produce this time of year.

Holiday Waste Stats

According to NEEF, Americans annually discard:

  • $11 billion worth of packing material

  • "38,000 miles of ribbon, or enough to wrap around the planet (with some left for a bow)"

  • And 15 million used Christmas trees.

And according to the CDC:

  • "If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.""

  • "About 35% of Americans have an unused Christmas present collecting dust in their closets."

Gift Wrapping Ideas:

Congrats! You made it through the hardest part- you checked off your Christmas gift list, and now it's time to wrap them up. Instead of buying wrapping paper that is not recyclable and will end up in a landfill, opt for these alternatives you may already have at home for a green holiday that will benefit not just the planet but your wallet.

For Wrapping:

  • Old paper grocery bags (like from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods)

  • Recycled paper

  • Newspaper

  • Cloth bags

  • Old men’s button down shirts

  • Scrap fabric

  • Vintage scarf (that can wrap your gift and be apart of it)

  • Reusable gift bags you can buy on Amazon if you don't have the above

  • Or it can be as easy as reusing gift bags you've been gifted from the past- this is what I do! I save every bag I have been given throughout the year and reuse them. Then, once the gifts I give are opened, I politely ask if it's OK that I take my bags back and people usually don't mind as they may have thrown it away anyway.

For Tying/ Holding Together:

  • Paper tape

  • Strips of cloth fabric

  • Rope string/ Twine (you can find these at any craft store like Michael's or online at Amazon)

For Labeling:

  • Piece of cardboard or recycled paper you can cut into various shapes like a triangle, heart or square. Then, use a hole punch to insert a string through the label to tie it to the gift.

Use boxes you already have! Like old shoe boxes or delivery boxes you've received, etc.

Other Eco Friendly Holiday Tips:

  • Recycle Your Christmas Tree-  Many towns offer Christmas Tree recycling. They convert the tree into mulch and return it back to the environment. To know when to put your tree curbside for recycling, you can call your local recycling center or look online by simply googling "your town, state, and Christmas tree recycling", and you should find your answer! Make sure to strip all ornaments and lights from tree before recycling.

  • Buy quality clothing for gifts (made of wool or cotton) that will last a long time, instead of cheap plastic fabrics like polyester or acrylic that shed tiny plastic fibers with each wash and pollute waterways/marine life.

  • Gift eco-friendly items such as a reusable glass water bottle, reusable straw, bamboo cutlery, reusable bags for shopping, and so on.

  • Make something! Bake a cake, paint something, make a special dish, or any diy gift that has more meaning than buying a random item.

  • Gift a plant- Plants liven up any space, last for years and literally give life by purifying the air!

DIY Gift Wrapping Inspiration:

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