Did you know, Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's than any other time of year?
Thanksgiving typically marks the start of the holidays, and with this season comes more waste to our landfill, increased debt to the average American household and added stress to find the perfect gift. But, what if that could be avoided?
This giving season WasteCap encourages you to #GiveRecycled. By participating, not only will you divert materials from the landfill, but you’ll also dodge those seasonal stressors.
Making something with your own two hands creates a meaningful gift that is more sustainable than the typical mass produced items found at big box retail stores. Along with that, DIY gifts are often unique, money-saving alternatives. WasteCap’s favorite DIY gift ideas include a succulent potter from reclaimed barn wood, a customized coat rack and a reclaimed wood serving tray. Check out other DIY blog posts or scope out Pinterest for more creative ideas
If DIY isn’t your thing, you can always gift an experience rather than an object. Movie or concert tickets or a household chore IOU, such as taking out the trash, raking leaves or doing the dishes, are customizable and sustainable. Gifts like an annual pass to the National Parks support the environment whereas splurging for a dinner together can create a special memory.
If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. This year consider trading traditional wrapping paper for reusable or recycled materials like a tin can or scarf, newspaper, outdated maps or wallpaper samples. If you receive a gift in traditional wrapping paper, open it without ripping or wrinkling the paper so you can use it again, or wad it up and reuse it for packaging protection when shipping an item, moving or storing your holiday delicates post-season.
If you’re looking for more creative, personal wrapping alternatives, try making a reusable cloth bag from an old tablecloth, napkin or sweater. A pair of scissors and tape make paper grocery bags an easy substitute for wrapping paper.
The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper, and if we each sent via e-mail, we’d save the entire paper building. If you prefer sending cards by snail mail, buy eco-friendly stock and reuse cards from past years as homemade gift tags or gift bag decorations.
Finally, don’t kick your Christmas tree to the curb post New Years. Instead, consider composting it or recycling it at your local Christmas tree drop-off recycling location. Alternatively, you can purchase or rent a potted tree that would not need to be disposed of at the end of the season.
Celebrating the holidays doesn’t have to induce stress or create waste. #GiveRecycled and spend your time where it matters most -- surrounded by family and friends.
Facts and figures were adapted from http://www.sustainableamerica.org/blog/25-holiday-facts/.