According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of U.S. household waste increases by 25%—that's 1 million extra tons—each year between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Make your holidays more eco-friendly with these tips for reducing waste and conserving energy while you celebrate.
- Invite electronically. Announce your holiday get-together using online services such as Evite.com. This reduces paper waste and makes RSVPs easier for your guests.
- Use natural decorations. Skip the plastic pine cones and aluminum tinsel and instead create festive displays using driftwood, dried grasses, winter berries, and other natural items.
- Eat local. Plan your menu around foods that are grown locally as well as those that are in season.
- Lose the disposables. The holidays are a special time of year, so pull out the china, stemware, and cutlery. Not only will this add a touch of class to your party, it will reduce the amount of trash.
- Opt for LEDs. Outdoor LED holiday lights use up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs and can last 20 to 30 years. Use LED lights indoors as well—on a tree, a mantel, in a menorah, and in holiday centerpieces. Save even more energy by using a timer to shut lights off automatically.
- Pay attention to packaging. Try to purchase gifts with the least amount of packaging. If you're shipping presents, create your own packing materials using recycled newspaper and shredded paper.
- Make your own gift wrap. Add a personal touch to gift-giving this year by making your own gift wrap. Try using old maps, the Sunday comics, a scarf, or a reusable cloth bag. Send kids on a treasure hunt to find their special gifts—and skip the wrapping altogether. If gift wrap and ribbons are in good shape, save them to reuse next year.
- Provide recycling bins. Set out clearly labeled recycling bins at parties so guests can recycle bottles, cans, and other items rather than tossing them in the wastebasket.
- Give away leftovers. Send extra food home with guests, or freeze leftovers for another day.
- Replant your Christmas tree. Select a small potted tree that you can replant after the holidays. Or, if you get a fresh tree, turn it into compost or send it through a chipper to make mulch. In some areas of the country, you can even rent a tree.
- Offer some gifts unwrapped. The gift of time or shared experiences such as tickets to a show or a sporting event create meaningful memories—and no wrapping paper waste.
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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm™. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.