Recycling has its busy season and consequently the holidays is one of the busiest recycling times of the year. Millions of cards are sent, gifts are packaged in cardboard and wrapping paper, and live trees are cut and displayed in our living rooms. And that’s not counting all the things we find at a typical holiday feast—bottles, cans, paper plates, and so on. Still, there are ways to reduce the amount of waste we create during the holidays and “go green” for Christmas.

Here are some tips for a greener, waste-free holiday with some help from Good Housekeeping.

  1. Buy locally-made gifts instead of products which have been transported long distances to reduce greenhouse emissions and global warming.
  2. Choose gifts made from recycled materials.
  3. Buy battery-free gifts, or if necessary, include rechargeable batteries and a charger. More batteries are bought at the holidays than at any other time of year.
  4. Give the gift of charity and ask that loved ones donate to a green cause on your behalf.
  5. Select gifts that don’t require much packaging like gift certificates, tickets to a show, potted plants, or homemade treats.
  6. Save paper by sending e-cards or make homemade cards by cutting out images from last year’s holiday calendar, wrapping paper, cards, or holiday flyers.
  7. Re-use bows, ribbon, and wrapping paper. Avoid non-recyclable metallic paper. Waste reducing wrapping alternatives include newspaper, paper bags, maps, and posters. Gift bags also save on wrapping paper and are easily saved and re-used from year to year.
  8. Make your own decorations, ornaments, and wreaths from items you have at home.
  9. Consider renting a tree or purchasing one that can be replanted after the holidays. Live cut trees can be composted and some communities offer free chipping services. Chips can be used for mulch and gardening.
  10. Reduce the size of outdoor displays and use LED lights for indoor and outdoor lighting. At bedtime turn off displays and save on energy and costs. You can also save energy by putting the lights on timers.
  11. Use eco-friendly packing materials. Mail your holiday gifts in boxes padded with recycled newspaper or the leftover paper in your shredder. You can also use real peanuts and include a note asking the recipient to feed them to the squirrels once the box is unpacked. These green materials will protect your packages just as well as bubble wrap or Styrofoam but have none of the negative impacts on the environment.
  12. Bring your own bags to the grocery store and other stores. This one makes sense all year round. Skip the plastic chopping bags by bringing your own.

The holiday season is the perfect time to “go green” because of all the waste generated from this time of year. Between the cards, wrapping paper, and the all-important Christmas tree, it is important to enjoy the holidays while also helping our environment.

For any questions about our landfill or recycling center give us a call at 856-825-3700.

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