There is, unfortunately, a lot of waste associated with the holidays. Between gifts, packaging and even food waste and packaging, Americans throw away an average of 25% more trash during this season.
I know for me growing up, Christmas morning was filled with tons of wrapping paper and such. It was normal to grab a huge garbage bag after opening all of our gifts and stuffing as much as we could in there. Then it would go out to the curb for the garbage man to pick up! And this was normal.
The good news is that there are a lot of creative ways to make that less. The change can begin with you!
Buy Less - Be Realistic: Plan Carefully so that you know exactly how much to buy. Realistically, not everyone will be eating a full serving of anything if there are a ton of choices, so consider making fewer dishes, or smaller amounts of each option.
Go Small: Use smaller plates and encourage self-serve to reduce unwanted food waste. There is nothing worse than seeing half a plate of food being thrown out!
Use Leftovers: Eat those leftovers, or if you still have a ton of untouched food, consider donating it.
Compost Food Scraps: I think this is pretty straightforward.
Thoughtful Gift Giving: Practice the art of thoughtful gift giving. Don't give others something they won't be able to use, or give just something just because you feel obligated to.
Give Experiences instead of Things That Can Be Wrapped. This is a great thing that can potentially lead to giving the gift of quality time! Gift things like tickets to something or plan a fun scavenger hunt. Be creative!
Be Creative with Wrapping: Skip conventional wrapping paper that you can find ample amounts of in the landfills every year. Wrap gifts with things such as scarves or newspaper. Try a kitchen towel or even a mason jar for kitchen gifts!
Find gifts that have less packaging: Edible gifts are great for this!
Consider skipping the Christmas Card: I love getting Christmas cards, and I love sending them as well. If you absolutely must send them, choose recyclable paper options. I know that they go in the trash and it's the thought that counts, but it is something to think about.
Recycle Your Christmas Tree: It's really a myth that plastic trees are better for the environment, as the material used is generally not good for the landfills. If gettng a tree, opt for a real tree if possible. Do some research about recycling trees in your area - many places turn your used Christmas Tree into mulch or wood chips to be used again. We like to use ours in the summer as firewood in our pit...
Be minimalistic with your decor. Yes, it's adorable to have reindeer chair covers and streamers, but do consider that less is more when it comes to Christmas decor.
Being mindful of your waste production doesn't have to be hard over the holiday season! Practice all year, and you'll be a natural by the time the holidays roll through! How do you minimize your waste over the holidays?