9 Ways to have a Waste Free Holiday

  1. Reduce the quantity of food served. Holiday season means fun andfood with friends and family.  We all want to impress our guest with a lavish display of food but then we are left with the dreaded left overs. Don’t get me wrong…I love the cold turkey sandwich with the cranberry sauce the next day but after a week of left overs, I think, “Why did I make it all?”  So I challenge everyone to make less this holiday.  If you just can’t resist making all that food, consider finding a soup kitchen to donate all the left overs. (For more reading see this article: Reducing Food Waste During the Holiday Season)

    using old news papers, comics, and maps as wrapping paper instead of traditional wrapping paper
    News paper and map wrapped presents
  2. Consider locally sourced food. Plants are CO2 negative but you might be surprised just how much CO2 was emitted to get the holiday mashed potatoes on the table (For more information see True Cost of a Holiday Dinner).
  3. Give the gift that keeps on giving: Alternative gifts such as planting a tree in someone’s name (American Forests or Arbor Day Foundation) can be a lovely way to say you care about the special someone without bogging them down with more stuff. Or consider making a donation in their name to a charity that does work they value.
  4. If you still want to give a gift, consider giving the gift of curiosity and creativity. Think about what inspires your kids, your loved ones or your loved one’s kids to indulge their curiosity about art, the natural world, or how to create something innovative. Or give the gift of an experience, like a trip to a nearby city or a gift certificate for a new activity.
  5. Use greener alternatives to traditional wrapping paper
  6. Make eco-friendly decorations from used shipping boxes or consider getting a potted tree to plant after the holidays

    cell phone lights LEDs instead of a candle lit menorah
    Cell phone menorah for Hanukkak
  7. Consider Eco-Smart Holiday Greeting Choices – this article says it all!
  8. Traveling? Consider off setting your carbon emissions and remember to lower the thermostat at home or in the office.
  9. Spring isn’t the only season for cleaning. Because most of us feel “stuck inside” during the cold months, winter can be the perfect time to purge the house of unneeded or unwanted items. Don’t just throw them out.  Think of ways to donate, reuse, or recycle those items.


Additional Resources