How often do you run out of space in your trash or recycling bin this time of year, between shipping, wrapping paper, and all those leftovers?
Becca Fong from Seattle Public Utilities joined New Day NW to share five ways we can all reduce waste over the holidays.
Five ways to reduce holiday waste:
Online shopping: This way of shopping became especially popular during the pandemic. Consider letting items marinate in your online shopping cart for a little bit. Think, "do I really need that?" It may look really tempting. When you do make the purchase, select as few boxes as possible. This cuts down on transportation costs and packaging, making a huge environmental impact.
In-person shopping: When you’re shopping in person, going to small businesses is very good for the environment. Less transportation for goods and less packaging compared to online shopping. Also, bring your own bag. When you find those cool items to buy, go for quality items that won’t break apart easily. You can find great handcrafted items. It's even better if they are pre-owned and recycled. For example, brands such as Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, REI, and even online stores such as Poshmark all have great opportunities for new and used clothing through their online shops.
Gift wrap/packaging: Always reuse. You can be resourceful and creative with wrapping presents. You can wrap using old fabrics like an old shirt or handkerchief. Wrapping paper that’s made mostly of actual paper that’s recyclable is also good to use. If the paper is too plasticized, it has to go in the garbage. Brown paper is ideal. Gift bags are also a great idea because you can definitely reuse that. If a wrapping paper is more than 50% foil, it needs to go in the trash.
Holiday decorations: You can make great holiday decorations out of plants you find around, like invasive species or plants that blow down during storms. You can use plants to make bundles that can help green up the space around the home. Plus, they’re all compostable! Another important note is to make sure that if you buy decorations, that they are quality decorations that won’t fall apart and will last for years. This will prevent you from having to buy more. You might want decorations that are new to you, so consider buying from the thrift shop or swapping with a friend. Vintage décor is also a cute look right now.
Reducing food waste: After Thanksgiving, there is so much food and it can be hard to manage it all. When making a big meal, shop smart for what you need. The major thing is managing your leftovers. Leftovers can make a really good gift to send guests home with. You can even have fun with containers and labeling. If you have too much to consume before it goes bad, put it in a ziplock bag and freeze it.