5 Ways To Minimize Your Waste During the Holiday Season

by Alexander Bonde

While the holiday season brightens up the end of our year and is a time for celebration, there is a dark side to all the festivities. It may be the most wonderful and wasteful time of the year! According to Stanford University, 25 million tons of garbage are thrown away each year in the US during the holiday period.

Similarly, in the UK the amount of waste produced increases by 30% during Christmas and an outrageous 6 million Christmas trees are thrown away each year. The enormous amount of solid waste produced leads to overflowing landfill sites, causing significant damage to the environment and ecosystem. 

It’s not all doom and gloom though, WasteHero believes that being aware of the amount of waste produced can help you make more mindful and sustainable choices this holiday period. ‘Tis the season to embrace recycling and minimizing waste!

#1 Leverage your leftovers! 

For many of us, the festive season means indulging in lengthy feasts and endless treats. However, Unilever reported that in the UK in 2014, a total of 4.2 million Christmas dinners were wasted. By planning portions correctly and making use of leftovers by turning them into stocks, soups or sandwiches, you can easily reduce the amount of wasted food.

Unused packaged and fresh foods can also be donated to charities, food banks and community groups. This is the season of giving after all!

#2 Greener Gifting

Instead of giving flimsy or low-quality gifts that will likely be broken or thrown away by Easter, investing in durable, useful presents for your loved ones can make all the difference when it comes to waste. Buying pre-loved gifts can also be a more sustainable option which embraces the notion of a circular economy.

The ultimate gift of all in many cases is your time. Giving the gift of an experience, whether it’s dinner out, tickets to a concert or an outdoor adventure can be just as thoughtful. Most importantly, it doesn’t involve nearly the same amount of waste.

#3 Zero Waste Wrapping

227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown out each year. Wrapping your gifts with fabric as opposed to paper, plastic or foil is an easy and effective trick. Furoshiki, a well-known method of wrapping cloth originating from Japan is great for achieving visually appealing and environmentally friendly gift wrapping.

#4 Leave the Lights Off!

The extravagance of Christmas is often why we love it most! One of our favourite traditions is decorating our homes, offices, streets and anything else we can cover with string lights. In the US, household Christmas lights use up more electricity than entire developing countries do in one year e.g. El Salvador, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

By turning off Christmas lights during the day or in rooms that aren’t in use, you can make a huge impact on the amount of electricity generated - not to mention drastically improve your energy bill! If you live somewhere with a bit of sun over the holiday season, make use of solar-powered lights to brighten up your outdoor areas!

#5 Recycle Your Christmas Tree

While real Christmas trees are more sustainable when compared to plastic trees which fill landfills, recycling your Christmas tree and wreath when the period is over is a fantastic opportunity to reduce your environmental footprint. Many garden centres also offer a huge variety of potted grown trees, meaning you can replant it in your garden and use it again next year! 

The holidays come but once a year, but the effects of the waste produced can be permanent. These small switches all contribute to a greener and less wasteful festive season, mitigating the threat to the environment. So spread some sustainable cheer this year...it’s never too late to be good!

Happy Holidays from all of us at WasteHero!

  • WasteHero
  • Waste
  • Sustainability
  • Trash
  • Recycle

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