7 Ways You Can Reduce Your Waste During the Holidays

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You’ve probably thought of every person you need to buy a gift for this holiday season and checked them all off your list, but have you thought about what Mother Earth wants to find under her (hopefully not dwindling) trees year after year?

I’ll give you a hint: it’s less of everything (except love).

And this is a perfect time of year to turn over a new leaf because according to Washington University in St. Louis, MO, Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than at any other time of year. This amounts to 25 million tons of trash in just a few months.

If you’re feeling inspired, here are 7 ways you can help bring that number down – and keep it going all year long.

7. Make a list and stick to it.


Surprises are a nice idea, but unless you know the person really well (or vice versa) there’s a good chance that thing you wondered whether they’ll like will end up as waste.

Ask people what they want and like, then buy it for them, and be straightforward with the people asking you for ideas too.

6. Bring reusable bags.

You should be doing this every time you run to Target or the grocery store (I keep mine in my car), but don’t forget to bring them along for holiday gifts, too.

5. Try gifting experiences instead of things.


Tickets to a concert, season tickets to a sporting event, passes to the zoo, cooking classes – the opportunities are endless, and people just might get to enjoy that gift for months at a time.

4. Only send Christmas cards to the people closest to you (or choose virtual cards instead!).

Wash U says that the “2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 [stories] high.”

Most people are going to toss your card in the trash, so think hard before you send them to everyone you know.

3. Don’t bother wrapping your gifts.


Hide them instead, or just pull them out of a reusable bag at the party. Scavenger hunts are fun, too – at least, for the person who makes them, they are.

2. Or at least use recyclable paper.

Make sure to double check that the paper you buy can end up in the recycling bin – just make sure to remove the tape first or use reused ribbon to tie it up nice and tight.

1. Buy light strands that run on parallel circuits.


You don’t want to throw out your entire strand because of one faulty light – and a simple parallel circuit means you won’t have to.

Also, use a timer for energy savings, too!

I’m off to do some last minute gifting to the planet – how about you?