Wrapped gifts

The holidays are a wonderful time of year. They bring families together and allow us to purchase or make thoughtful gifts for our loved ones. They also give us the time to reflect back on the previous year and let us visualize our upcoming year.

As wonderful as the holidays are, they are extraordinarily wasteful. Waste permeates every area of the holidays. One thing everyone should reflect on this year is how much waste is created during this season.

Here are 7 tips for how to reduce waste during the holidays this year.

Choose Reusable Gift Wrap

Most wrapping paper is used once and then thrown away. Instead of choosing disposable wrapping paper, consider reusable options like cloth bags, tins or recycled magazine pages.

Practice Portion Control

Each year, the average person wastes 100 pounds of food, totaling a whopping 28 billion pounds annually. It’s easy to get carried away cooking for holiday celebrations. Be very careful to only prepare as much food as you need so you don’t contribute to the waste!

Keep Fuel Efficiency in Mind

A lot of travel happens over the holidays. Trips to the mall, holiday parties and more – we’re in the car a lot this time of year. Try to plan your trips with fuel efficiency in mind. Complete several errands in one trip, carpool or take public transportation.

Holiday gifts
Image courtesy of Amy

Make Recycling Easy

If you’re hosting a party, be sure that you make recycling easy for your guests. Clearly mark the receptacles so everyone knows where trash goes and where recycling goes.

Consider Electronic Holiday Cards

If you send out holiday cards, consider electronic cards or making a personal phone call. If you just can’t get away from physical cards, choose ones that are made of recycled paper. Don’t purchase cards that are shiny/glossy or have a foil coating on them since they can’t be recycled.

Bring Your Own Bags

Reusable bags aren’t just for the grocery store. Wash yours up and take them with you on your Christmas gift shopping trips. If everyone brought their own bags, we could significantly cut down on plastic bag waste.

Conserve Energy

It’s easy to get carried away with running the heater during the winter. If you can, consider heating your home with a wood burning stove or fireplace. And if you’re hosting a holiday party, a side benefit is all of those bodies will naturally heat up your house. Read this article for more tips on reducing your energy costs.

What steps are you taking to reduce waste this holiday season?

Feature image courtesy of Dahon

By Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.