Hi everybody! It’s back to school and back to laundry and work for mom today after the kids being off for two weeks for Christmas break. Talking today about holiday waste and what to do with it!
Our family of seven sure accumulates a LOT of waste over the holiday season. Every year, the garbage cans are filled to the gills with ribbons, tissue and wrapping paper, and miscellaneous packaging and food scraps from family Christmas. And we’re not alone. I’ve been doing some research and according to one source, Americans throw out packaging material valued at about $11 billion, and “bury enough aluminum in landfills to make 25,000 jetliners.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this isn’t healthy for the environment, so my family and I are trying out these recycling tips this post-holiday season. I hope we can all make an effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle in time for New Year’s, and beyond!
1. Cards: Let’s start with those holiday greeting cards. I don’t know about you, but it seems like my list of Christmas cards grows exponentially each year as the kids get older and we meet new friends. Did you know that American send about 2.6 billion cards each year? A lot of sites suggest switching over to digital cards, a convenient, no-cost, and waste-free method. Even a thoughtful phone call can do wonders this time of year to let your friends you are thinking of them! On my list this year is converting to a digital card.
2. The Tree: A real tree with the scent of pine means Christmas for me. But what do you do when the needles start to turn brown and hit the floor en mass? There are plenty of ways to safely recycle your tree and do your part in helping the environment. A lot of communities these days have Christmas tree recycling events where they chip used trees into mulch. Potted trees can also be donated to churches or parks for replanting. Lastly, recycled Christmas trees can be used for future home decor, like in holiday wreaths, they can make great recycled Christmas decorations. Or, use the pine needles from the branches to create tree-scented sachet bags. Is there anything better than the smell of pine trees? All great ways to reuse that tree!
3. Gifts: Every year, the big tech companies are coming out with the most cutting-edge model of phones and laptops, spelling doom for your current gadgets. If you’ve been gifted a new electronic, it is suggested that you “regift” your old, unused ones by selling them online or donating them to a local school or charity. Just because it isn’t new and shiny doesn’t mean it’s not worth anything! And the same goes for clothes this holiday season. I know I definitely need to sort through all of my children’s clothes and pick out what needs to be donated to charity or gifted as hand-me-downs to my friends’ kids. A great alternative to throwing things out!
4. Ribbons: Here’s a pretty staggering tidbit on ribbon use every year. One source I found says that “If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.” Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Even more reason for cutting down ribbon consumption during the holidays. My family and I are opting for the stick on bows instead of ribbons as much as we can because they’re great to reuse every year. All you need is a bit of tape and they can be stuck onto any box, bag, or card!
5. Wrapping Paper: Maybe my readers out there will have more luck than I do at recycled wrapping paper! On Christmas morning, my kids rush into our living room and rip open their presents like there’s no tomorrow. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I hope one year they will open their presents carefully enough that we can trim and reuse the paper for the next holiday (as my Grandparents used to do each year). I’m thinking that next Christmas we can also use reusable gift bags for our presents. They’ll double as additional gifts and can help my friends shop more sustainably year-round!
I hope these tips help you and your family reduce your household waste even a small percentage this year. As they say, every little bit helps! Check out my link here for a look into my family’s favorite Swedish tradition for Christmas. I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season, no matter what you celebrate, and Happy New Year to the ever awesome CloudMom community!