Monday, November 26, 2012

Celebrate the season without "trashing" your home

The holidays are such a great time to share laughter, encouragement, and love with family and friends. Chances are your calendar is already filling up with get-togethers for the holiday season. In addition to our increased socializing, our waste increases over the holiday season as well. According to the EPA, the volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – about 1 million extra tons.

So, while you are still in the early planning stages, consider these simple tips to help you celebrate the season without “trashing” your home and your budget.
1.      Nix the cheap wrapping paper. While the bright colors are pretty, it’s not a very economical or environmentally sound choice. Most wrapping papers are not recyclable curbside, due to the poor quality of the fiber used to make the paper. Instead, create your own wrappings!
a.      Buy a roll or two of brown “shipping” paper. Use markers or paints and stencils to decorate the wrap. Make bows out of fabric or sturdy ribbon, which can be used year to year.
b.      Make fabric gift bags.  These bags are simple and can be used over and over from year to year.

2.      Avoid paper plates and plastic utensils. Pull out your good dishes. No matter how small or simple the gathering, bringing out the good dishes always makes the event feel a bit more festive. Remember, paper plates and plastic utensils are not recyclable.

3.      Be thoughtful in your gift giving. Rather than buying more “stuff” with more packaging, think about experience gifts, such as tickets to a play or museum, a gift certificate for a massage, a certificate to a locally owned restaurant, even a certificate for free babysitting. We don’t often purchase such gifts for ourselves, so the thought will be appreciated.

4.      Plan your menu around what is available locally. Cook only for the amount you will be serving. Package up leftovers and send them home with your guests. Or, freeze your leftovers and save them for another meal.
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