From uneaten leftovers to discarded wrapping paper, the holidays come with a lot of waste - from Thanksgiving to New Year's, Americans produce 25 percent more waste! Here’s are 4 areas where we can make simple changes.
When Cooking and Eating
- It's easy to get excited about all the holday food favorites, but these often lead to a significant increase in the amount of wasted food coming from households compared to the rest of the year. This year, be sure to buy only what you need.
- Consider doing a fridge clean-out to make space for holiday goodies and to get an idea of what you already have that can be incorporated into meals.
- The Guest-Imator tool from Save the Food helps you figure out how much food you need depending on who will be joining your table. It also allows you to adjust your ingredients and portions accordingly.
- Don’t forget about the leftovers! Plan ahead if there's a dish you'll want more of. Don't be shy about sending people home with leftovers. And consider reinventing what does get left behind with dishes such as: Shepherd's Pie, Turkey Soup, Bread Pudding, and Cranberry Treats. Browse this website for more ideas for making the most of any leftovers and extra ingredients.
- Remember to compost your inedible food scraps. Keep a small tub near your cutting board to collect vegetable trimmings, then easily dump into the curbside green bin. Go one step further and save those onion peels, carrot skins, and celery tops in the freezer for a delicious veggie stock.
- Think about giving back to community. Consider volunteering or donating to a local food bank to help feed families in need during the holiday season. Give experiences, like a gift card to a museum or a favorite local restaurant.
- Second-hand first. Shopping at vintage or thrift stores, or your local buy-nothing group, not only saves money, but keeps stuff out of the landfill.
- Give home cooked meals, baked goods, or home made treats to share with neighbors, family and friends.
- Avoid buying online which comes with tons of packaging waste.
- Make a point to shop from local stores (many are still struggling) and ones that focus on sustainable, lasting goods. Or support a local artist!
- Skip the store bought wrapping paper, and get crafty with repurposed materials you probably have around the house. Paper bags, newspaper, and fabric make beautiful options.
- If you're giving the gift of homemade goodies this year, repurposed glass jars and containers work wonderfully.
When It's Over
- Recycle right by only putting what is allowed in your bins, many common items like metallic wrapping paper and ribbons do not belong in the recycling bin. Visit our RE:Source guide to find out what goes where in your city.
- Compost your tree (be sure to remove all decorations, stands, and artificial snow). Check with your city to find out curbside pickup times and instructions.
- If you’re feeling the urge to purge ahead of the New Year, do so with intention: many items like clothing, furniture, and toys can either be repaired or donated for reuse.
- Here's to a new year! Challenge yourself to keep these thoughtful practices throughout the year. Your wallet, community and environment will thank you.