Make the holiday season greener by reducing, reusing and recycling

Household waste in the U.S. increases by more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day

VANCOUVER — As holiday festivities begin, Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach is encouraging people to take steps to reduce their holiday waste.

Household waste in the U.S. increases by more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, sending an additional 1 million tons of trash per week to landfills. But by taking a few simple steps to reduce, reuse and recycle, the holiday season can be a little greener. Photo courtesy of clarkgreenneighbors.org
Household waste in the U.S. increases by more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, sending an additional 1 million tons of trash per week to landfills. But by taking a few simple steps to reduce, reuse and recycle, the holiday season can be a little greener. Photo courtesy of clarkgreenneighbors.org

Household waste in the U.S. increases by more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, sending an additional 1 million tons of trash per week to landfills. But by taking a few simple steps to reduce, reuse and recycle, the holiday season can be a little greener.

Before the holiday parties and gift-giving begins:

  • Plan your holiday meals to avoid over-buying food. Consider using the “Guest-imator,” a dinner party calculator, to estimate how much food you need to keep guests happy and full. Send guests home with leftovers in reusable containers, and compost your food scraps.
  • Give experiences, time or talent as gifts. Consider gift cards to restaurants or tickets to a sporting event. Take someone to a play or teach them how to play an instrument. Make a charitable donation in the recipient’s name or give a museum membership.
  • Send holiday e-cards rather than mailing paper cards. Or make sure the paper cards you buy have recycled content and are recyclable. Recycle holiday cards you receive.
  • Think durable when selecting gifts. The longer an item lasts, the less often it will need to be replaced.
  • Wrap gifts in reusable bags, old maps, newspaper or leftover pieces of fabric, rather than purchasing wrapping paper.
  • Skip the disposables when hosting gatherings. Single-use plates, cups, napkins and silverware end up in the landfill.
  • Make ornaments from natural, edible items and set them out for the winter wildlife after the tree comes down. A string of popcorn and cranberries makes a perfect gift for the birds.
  • Take reusable bags on your shopping trips.

After the holiday gatherings:

  • 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 block foam. 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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