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It won’t surprise you that the holiday season is one of the most wasteful times of the year. Did you know Americans throw away 25% more trash during the holidays than any other time of year? That adds up to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons each week!
Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to cut down on your waste and have a more sustainable holiday season.
Food waste is a significant factor in climate change. In fact, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that if you considered food loss and waste as a country, it would be the third biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste on its own produces 10% of total annual greenhouse gasses. So, every scrap you can save adds up!
Here are some tips for reducing food waste during the holidays:
How many gifts have you received during the holidays that you’ve simply never used? How many of those did you end up throwing away over the years? In 2019, it was estimated that about 7% of gifts given during the holiday season are unwanted. Gift-giving is often stressful and wasteful in and of itself, particularly if you are ordering online and wrapping your gifts and even sending them elsewhere afterward. Want to cut down on waste this holiday season?
Paper goods for gift wrapping amount to as much as 40 million tons of waste annually. Plus, a lot of wrapping paper isn’t recyclable, which really adds up.
If every family in the US wrapped just three presents in reused or recycled materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. Wrapping paper is easy to conserve and reuse as long as it isn’t ripped. You can also swap wrapping paper for something you might already have around the house, like newspaper, paper grocery bags, or cloth. Or, you can skip wrapping altogether and simply present your gift to your receiver.
Beyond the food waste, holiday parties can be a big producer of needless waste with lots of single-use plastic. Cut down on your plastic consumption when hosting with these tips:
While the holidays can be stressful and wasteful, there are plenty of easy ways to cut down on your overall plastic consumption and waste. Keep these tips in mind as the holidays approach and remember: every little change counts!