Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday waste is not a memory we want to live with

Maybe we should call it the season of misgivings. Certainly, this is not the holiday memory we intended.
We’re throwing away 25 percent more trash during the holidays in this country and 33 percent more food, by one estimate. That’s about 25 million extra tons of garbage.
You’re probably too focused on wrapping gifts to consider where all the paper and cardboard will end up. But this is the right time to think about it – and to look for alternatives.
“A lot of that waste can be prevented by thinking ahead,” said Meg Fencil, education and outreach director for Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit focused on sustainable living.
Reconsider the wrapping paper and cardboard boxes, Fencil said. Gift bags are a smart choice because you don’t need a box and you can – and should – reuse them.
Pinecones and other natural decorations can substitute for ribbons and bows.
Hide smaller gifts inside larger ones. Pinterest is a good online resource for other ideas.
In the kitchen, try not to buy more than you will need, and compost kitchen scraps.
Fencil has taken up a tradition started by her grandmother: a holiday treasure hunt. Gifts don’t have to be wrapped for this game.
The younger children go first and get five clues that led them to their toys. The older children can help, and then they get clues of their own.
“I think it was even more fun” than finding gifts under a tree, Fencil recalled. “There was a challenge to it.”
Find more tips for reducing holiday waste at Type “reduce holiday waste” in the search field.

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