Make the holiday season greener by reducing, reusing and recycling

Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach encourages people to take steps to reduce waste as they celebrate the holidays.

Household waste in the U.S. and Clark County typically increases 20 percent to 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day

VANCOUVER – Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach encourages people to take steps to reduce waste as they celebrate the holidays.

Household waste in the U.S. and Clark County typically increases 20 percent to 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Trash cans fill up with holiday food waste, shopping bags, bows and ribbons, packaging, and wrapping paper that contribute an additional 1 million tons a week to our country’s landfills. But by taking a few simple steps to reduce, reuse and recycle, the holiday season can be a little greener.

The holidays may look different this year, with smaller in-person parties and gatherings. But these tips can help you to reduce waste, whatever your gathering size: 

  • If you’re preparing holiday meals, make a list to avoid over-buying food. Consider using the “Guest-imator” to help you estimate how much food you need. Freeze leftovers and compost your food scraps.
  • Skip the disposables when hosting gatherings. Single-use plates, cups, napkins and silverware end up in the landfill.
  • Purchase local experiences like a winery tour or a scenic train ride, food delivery gift cards for takeout, or upcycled goods from Recycled Arts Festival vendors. Or consider making a charitable donation in the recipient’s name to their favorite nonprofit or community organization.
  • Think durable when selecting gifts. The longer an item lasts, the less often it will need to be replaced.
  • Visit a local thrift store to curate a special outfit or repurpose kitchenware into a unique gift basket or potted plant.
  • Save gift bags, tissue paper, bows and ribbons to reuse next year. Recycle wrapping paper (not foil-covered paper) that cannot be reused.
  • Take inventory of things you no longer use and donate old toys and clothing to thrift stores.
  • Consider recycling old electronic gadgets, string lights that no longer work and plastic air pillow packaging. Drop-off locations can be found at RecyclingDoneRight.com. Donate unwanted electronics and string lights that still work.
  • Use rechargeable batteries to power new toys.

For more holiday waste-reduction tips, visit the Clark County Green Neighbors website.

Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

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