- Editor’s Note: This article was recycled from previous holiday seasons, but it’s every bit as relevant in 2018. 🙂 It was written by Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland with a little help from the Kane County Environmental and Water Division.
The holiday season is upon us. With all of the food, family time and fun, unfortunately also comes a lot of additional waste. Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve!
That’s an additional 5 million tons of trash — with 38,000 miles of ribbon alone (enough to tie a bow around the Earth) going into our landfills.
As you partake in your holiday festivities, please be extra thoughtful about the impact to our planet.
Here are 10 tips for reducing waste this holiday season:
(1) For holiday parties, use reusable glasses, plates, utensils and cloth napkins.
(2) Instead of material gifts, give gifts of your time or expertise. Consider gift certificates for restaurants, movies or babysitting — or give consumable items such as baked goods.
(3) Recycle all the wrapping materials and packing that you can — or, better yet, save them to reuse next year. Do NOT recycle tissue paper, foil wrapping paper/cards, or cards with glitter or sequins.
(4) When shipping gifts, avoid Styrofoam bubbles — use recyclable paper instead. Check this article for more on Styrofoam.
(5) When you receive new electronic gifts, be sure to recycle your old electronics at a Kane County Collection Event or a regular drop-off site.
(6) When buying electronic toys or other battery-powered gifts, include rechargeable batteries with them. Or, go old school and choose gifts that require no power at all.
(7) Wrap gifts in fabric, newspaper comics, children’s drawings, or old sheet music. Create special cloth gift bags or decorated boxes that can be reused and traded among family members each year. Check out “5 ways to reuse holiday cards.”
(8) Consider alternatives to a cut tree, such as a potted Norfolk pine, fig tree, or indoor houseplant that can be used every holiday. If you do use a real tree, make sure to recycle it after the holidays. See the list of city guidelines and drop-offs here. The list will be updated in mid-December for this season.
(9) Don’t forget to compost food trimmings and uneaten leftovers in your backyard compost. And check this story left over from Thanksgiving.