Minimizing Waste This Christmas Time
It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to accumulate waste. Here on our little farm we do all we can to re-use, compost, recycle and minimize waste as much as we can. Still, I find we are taking out bags of trash from the kitchen more than I would like for just the two of us. I anticipate a Christmas during which, with a house full of family and friends, we will accumulate a huge load of waste - especially the boxes, wrapping paper and plastic!
There are a few things I do to minimize our holiday waste. That is to say, not just limiting our trash, but limiting all types of waste, including the “stuff” we tend to accumulate over this giving season that ends up at the bottom of a drawer or back of a closet. Reducing waste includes being more thoughtful about the excess build up of junk and exuberant spending that tends to create the seasonal stress common for many people. Try on just a few of these ideas and see if you decrease your waste this season and find a bit more joy in the process.
* Recycle: It goes without saying that minimizing trash means recycling. This is not just bottles and cans (collect these from your holiday parties and take in for the CRV money!). Much of the trash we compile this season comes from boxes. These are the boxes that items are packaged in and also boxes in which they are shipped to us in (think Amazon Prime!). Set aside space in the corner of the garage to breakdown the boxes and recycle them this year. Also, most of the empty containers we accrue from the holiday meals we cook can be recycled. If you don’t already, create bins for each of the types of recycling (aluminum, paper, plastic, and “mixed”) recycle so that organizing it isn’t so overwhelming.
* Re-use: I find it very useful to breakdown boxes and keep them for next year. It is also fun to use newspaper with red ribbon as a unique Christmas wrapping, or even old fashion magazines for wrapping gifts for the fashion-savvy teen in the family. Cans from meal prep can be painted to make little succulent pots that are fun to hang in front of a window or arranged in a little garden.
* Get creative: Think about giving waste-free gifts this season that the people you love will use and enjoy. Tickets to a concert or a gift card to their favorite restaurant are always a hit! Give the couples in your life a “Date night out” with tickets to the local movie theater and dinner someplace special. Do a Secret Santa gift exchange this year and save money AND waste. I was initially reluctant to participate in our family’s Secret Santa, but now see that it really makes the one gift you give extra special and meaningful, and everyone doesn’t go broke every Christmas!