Reuse We’ve discussed reducing consumption and recycling as much as possible. But it also helps to think about ways you can get multiple uses out of what might otherwise look like garbage. For example, thick shipping envelopes that can’t be recycled make a sturdy bag for scooped kitty litter. In many places, the plastic containers for cottage cheese, butter and yogurt are not recyclable. If that’s the case in your area, wash them and use them to send leftovers home with guests or to store them in your own home. If you still receive holiday cards in the mail, cut out the pretty pictures, punch a hole in them, and use them as gift tags.
Address Other December Waste While parties and gifts result in the majority of holiday waste, the end of the year is a good time to eliminate some other culprits, as well. For example, contact companies sending you product catalogues you have no interest in. Also sign up for paperless billing from every business who offers it. Food waste is an issue throughout the year, so if you don’t already have one, a composter is a great solution for upcycling kitchen waste into a usable garden compost. You can add any plant-based product to the mix, including many items that typically hit your garbage can like egg shells, banana peels, leftover salad, coffee grounds, and vegetable peels. The composter is also great for toilet paper rolls, napkins, coffee filters, and other paper-based household products. Get a jump start on your holiday season with a plan to reduce waste, which will be a gift to your budget and the planet.
If you’re able to plan ahead, order meat from a local butcher or farm. Alternatively, buy from the meat counter at the grocery store where foods are typically wrapped in paper rather than plastic. Also, anything you can make from scratch will reduce your holiday waste footprint. Bake bread fresh or buy it in paper bags. Make cookies, and skip the plastic containers. Put together your own potato salad. Make a salad from fresh greens instead of a bag. Have the kids help bake pies. Use homemade whipping cream rather than buying it in the convenient can. The idea is to give some thought to each item you buy and evaluate how much of it will end up in the trash.
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