How to reduce holiday waste
Holiday waste

Did you know that if everyone wrapped just three gifts in reused paper, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields? It's true: You can save money and the environment by being more eco-conscious.

Holiday recycling
made pretty

These decorative holiday recycling ideas cost little to nothing and can make a big eco-friendly impact.

The facts

  • If everyone wrapped just three gifts in reused paper, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
  • If every household reused just two feet of ribbon each year, the resulting 38,000 miles of ribbon could tie a bow around the Earth.
  • Each year 28 billon pounds of edible food is thrown away — serve smaller portions; diners can always ask for seconds.
  • The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high or circle the planet 10 times.
  • Annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags totals 4 million tons — and all for a few days per year! Think about how you can reduce and help our environment.

Here are creative ways to both save the environment and cut down on holiday waste without losing any of the festive style:

christmas cards

6 Ways to recycle holiday cards

  1. Decor — Show them off by building a house of cards.
  2. Place cards — Transform them into place cards.
  3. Post cards — Recycle old holiday cards and make them into post cards.
  4. Gift tags — Creativity, a hole punch and scissors are all you need.
  5. Old to new — Recycle into a new holiday card.
  6. Decorations — Make tree ornaments and chain garlands.

3 Ways to recycle while still wrapping with style

  1. Newspaper — Ironing newspapers will seal the ink so you can use it as wrapping paper.
  2. Dishcloths or baby blankets — The gift that keeps on giving with a wrap.
  3. Maps — Extra large maps are perfect for this project. Creative and inspiring for anyone that loves to travel.
Annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals 4 million tons

Create a generation box

Some of the best boxes are made to last — and pass along for others to use year after year. Decorate a plain gift box — or choose a pattern you like — and then add a clear coat of packing tape for extra support and resistance to wear, and you're good to go for years of enjoyment.

On the inside of the lid write the date and occasion. Each time the box is used, the next person adds to the history by writing the same. Grandparents and children love this concept. Before you know it you have a lid to a box that has been used for just about any occasion and for generations to enjoy.

pineconeDinner table decor

  1. No-waste centerpiece — Forage in the garden, yard or park for ready-to-go centerpieces; you don't have to focus on flowers when branches, leaves, mosses, stones, and pinecones can be easily assembled.
  2. Festive place cards — Use fresh leaves (e.g., Magnolia) and wine corks to create a fresh look to your table.

Gift ideas

Reduce waste by offering special food items or personal services as gifts. Examples: Bake cookies, prepare a meal a week for someone who would appreciate the help, run errands, shovel snow, shop for elderly family members or neighbors.

Give lifestyle gifts that promote changes that are friendly to the environment. For example, cloth napkins and tablecloths, cloth or reusable shopping bags, a compost bin, recycling bins, reusable or biodegradable picnic plates/utensils or stationary made from recycled paper. Plant the idea and watch it grow!

More green holiday ideas

Eco-friendly gift wrapping at its finest
Great green stocking stuffers
Christmas decor inspired by nature

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Comments

Comments on "Decorative money-saving ways to recycle this holiday season"

Hannah December 10, 2012 | 10:37 AM

I think it's best to recycle whenever possible, but especially during the holidays when people are so much more likely to waste. Thanks for this!

Lauren December 07, 2012 | 9:38 AM

Great read. Those stats are crazy and it goes to show that if we in general were more aware of waste, it would make a huge impact in the world.

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