How to Combat Extra Waste During the Holidays


Courtesy of Mother Nature Network

Trash piles up in the midst of celebrating the Holidays

Gisele Bisch, Staff Reporter

According to Use Less Stuff’s Holiday Campaign, Americans throw away twenty-five percent more trash throughout the Holidays than any other time of the year.

What is twenty-five percent? Twenty-five percent of trash means 25 million tons of trash or an extra one million tons of trash per week. Without a doubt, the buying, wrapping, and celebrating during the Holidays amount to the extra waste. However, here are some tips that might help reduce that.


Make your own gifts.

Ever heard of “it’s the thought that counts?” Creating your own gifts can substantially reduce waste during the holidays. Instead of buying something new and overly-packaged, try making homemade jams, desserts, or even a painting. If you’re not ‘craft-savvy,’ don’t worry – there are tons of sustainable or eco-friendly DIY gifts you can try on the internet. Shopping at farmer’s markets or craft fairs – products commonly sold without a lot of packaging – may be an alternative, as well.


Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper or no packaging at all.

According to the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), 38,000 miles of ribbon and $11 billion worth of packing material is discarded during the Holidays in the United States. Using gift bags may be a better solution when gifting items because the product can be reused for future gifts. Another alternative is forgetting gift wrapping altogether and adding just a bow instead.


Avoid buying individually packaged food or drinks.

Certainly, social gatherings are a common occurrence during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s period. These events often entail the single-use items – from dishware to food or drink items. Buying items that aren’t individually wrapped can drastically decrease the amount of garbage at the end of parties. Another option for smaller gatherings – ones with close family and friends – can be using reusable dishware rather than single-use plates, cups, and utensils. While it may be a time-consuming solution, utilizing the reusable dishware can greatly impact the amount of waste made during the Holidays.


Donate extra items to homeless shelters or other places in need.

At the end of the Holidays, several people usually end up with more items than they need – whether that be excess food, drinks, clothes, or other things. Donating extra items to homeless shelters or other places in need may not only brighten someone’s day but reduce the chance of throwing more trash away.


While these are only a few tips, there are always many other ways to be more sustainable during the Holiday period. So, in hopes to improve conditions on this planet, opt for more eco-friendly alternatives and make a difference during the Holidays.