Ditch Disposable Decor
Give the Gift of Waste-Free Gifts Look around after any gift- giving events, and you’ll find an abundance of discarded wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbons, bows, tissue paper, boxes, and other debris. Thinking ahead will greatly reduce the task of cleaning up and the amount of waste that ends up in the trash. Basic wrapping paper that is void of sparkles, glitter, sequins, foil, artificial texture, sticky gift labels, or plastic is completely recyclable, so pay attention when making your selection. Alternatively, use the Sunday comics, magazine pages, maps, or other paper sources. For ribbons, skip the plastic curling ribbon and prefabbed plastic bows. Instead, grab a roll of real ribbon from the craft store and reuse it year after year. Similarly, you can avoid plastic ribbon waste by using natural materials such as jute, twine, burlap, fabric, or cotton. They are also reusable but will biodegrade once disposed of. Stanford University reports, “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. If every American family wrapped just three presents in reusedmaterials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.” Similarly, use paper gift bags that can be reused or
recycled. Avoid the waste altogether (even the recyclable kind) by using a scarf, piece of fabric, or cloth napkins to wrap gifts. Make the wrapping part of the gift by using a photo box, basket, beach bag, crate or jar. You can also find reusable gift bags with drawstrings. Waste-free Meal Plan Food is central to most holiday festivities, yet kitchen waste multiplies as a result. A plethora of holiday garbage comes from single-use plates, silverware, cups and napkins. Although using real dishware will involve doing the dishes once the party is over, it’s one of the easiest ways to avoid a full garbage can. Dig out the china, or use everyday plates. Skip the red Solo cups in favor of regular glassware. Resist the plastic silverware by using the real stuff instead. Borrow a few items if needed, or ask your guests to bring some fromhome. Once again, waste reduction really starts in the shopping aisle. Again, bring containers and bags to the store with you. Move past the prepackaged lettuce and bags of apples, potatoes and grapes. While the plastic bags can likely be recycled along with the plastic film, the bubble packs that fruit and other items come in are rarely recyclable in any way.
Decorating for a holiday should be fun, and there are many ways to incorporate meaningful and eco-friendly decor options. Go for a natural centerpiece, such as a pine bough from your tree clippings, or use gourds to embellish instead. Rely on the classics like candles or flowers, too. Avoid balloons, decorations with the year printed on them you will never use again, and single-use plastic table cloths.
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