Americans are wonderful wasters, particularly around the holidays. In fact we throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year's holiday period than any other time of year. This extra waste amounts to about 25 million tons of garbage...including 3.5 million tons of edible food waste.
That's just not very Christmas like.
Here are a few considerations in letting up on your footprint this holiday season...
1. Bring Your Own Bag (Shopping). You know, one of the 10 hip reusable bags you keep in your trunk, garage or hall closet...If it's a single item, like a roll of tape or bottle of pinot, you may even consider forgoing the bag all together and just using your hands.
2. Save the Wrap. Wrapping paper is paper that is produced, purchased, used to cover something already packaged, torn up and thrown away...it's a sad existence. My guess is you could find some paper that's already lived one life and now would be thrilled with a short stint in repurposing. Magazine pages can make for very attractive and even artful wrapping or try one of those bags you took when you didn't bring your own (think Urban Outfitters). I've got a few cool ones I've hung onto just for this reason.
3. Recharge. The EPA reports that 40% of all battery sales happen over the holidays. Batteries, though necessary, are bad. With remotes, Wiis and noisy things expected to be in full swing now's the perfect time to go rechargeable. You can buy a charger and 8 AA's for about $20.
4. Treecycle. Have your tree* chipped into mulch. Fargo anyone?
5. Don't Forget Your Glasses. Holiday gatherings are the perfect time for plastic glassware. You can pour a drink, have a sip, lose your glass, grab another one off the stack, repeat. Keep a sharpie on hand and let your guests mark their glasses...it washes off.
6. Remember Africa. Food waste is sad. Be thoughtful when preparing servings and don't make/bring things no one will eat but you.
*Works with real trees only.