The holiday season is upon us, and we’ve partnered with our friends at Eco-Cycle to provide tips on ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle during the holidays and all year. If we each take smalls steps like these, we can create a significant impact.
Gift Wrapping Alternatives
Wrapping paper isn’t recyclable, so consider using reusable cloth gift bags, bandanas, leftover fabric or cut out pieces of old sheets and pillowcases. Reusable gift bags and boxes, newspapers, old maps and calendars are also great options for wrapping gifts.
Instead of using a cut tree this holiday, consider planting one. Purchase a potted tree for the holiday from a local nursery. It can be inside for a week or so, stored outside and then planted in the spring. If you don’t have a location for a tree, many communities are happy to take donated live trees to be planted in public spaces.
Use LED holiday lights instead of incandescent lights. While new incandescent lights are more energy-efficient than old incandescent lights, they are not as efficient as LED lights. Incandescent lights tend to have a higher cost over time because they use more electricity than LED lighting. LED lights may cost a little more upfront, but holiday LED lights consume 80% less energy and last up to 25 times longer.
Roughly 40% of all the food grown in the U.S. is thrown away. You can prevent food waste with careful planning for your big holiday meals. This “Guest-imator” tool can help you plan for a group without overbuying.
Your holiday mail likely includes catalogs and other mail telling you to buy, buy, buy. You can stop junk mail for good by learning Eco-Cycle’s six steps to getting and staying off mailing lists at ecocycle.org/junkmail.
Purchase Recycled Goods
When you shop, help “close the loop” and buy items made from recycled materials as opposed to new materials. You’ll help conserve energy, water and resources, and create demand for recyclables. Manufacturing products from recycled materials saves 30-90% of the energy needed to manufacture these products from natural resources.
We hope these tips are helpful this holiday season. And if you’ve ever asked, “Can I recycle this?” Eco-Cycle is here to help you year-round with questions about recycling. Find out in seconds with the Eco-Cycle A-Z Recycling Guide, available on the App Store or Google Play.