Going green this holiday season: Give more and waste less

By Kaia Johnson Kemper 

Guest Columnist


Did you know that household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day? According to the MPCA, all the shopping bags, packaging, gift wrap, boxes, bows and ribbons add up to an additional one million tons of waste each week. With a little thought, you can reduce, reuse and recycle to give the environment the precious gift of less while saving yourself time, money and stress.

Give the gift of togetherness (no-waste gifts)

Our most cherished moments often involve family and friends. This year during the holidays give a gift of time or experience instead of stuff. Offer to babysit, give music lessons, do house chores or run errands. Have kids create fun “coupons” for their time, such as taking on extra chores, watching a younger sibling or providing lots of hugs and kisses. Or try these ideas:

• Make a “trash-to-treasure” gift from odds and ends

• Give homemade baked goodies, such as cookies, preserves or bread

• Make a charitable donation in someone else’s name

• Give no-waste gifts, such as tickets to concerts, museums or sporting events, or gift certificates for dinner, a massage or spa treatment

• Need a stocking stuffer? Give packets of seeds to grow indoors and transplant in the spring

Reducing waste during your holiday celebrations

Try incorporating a little “green” into your shopping, decorating and entertaining:

• Bring reusable tote bags when shopping

• Use LED holiday lights and put the lights on a timer

• Decorate with natural materials such as pine cones, evergreen boughs and garlands of popcorn and berries

• Get creative with gift wrapping by using baskets, glass jars or cookie tins and make your own gift tags

• Use cloth napkins, silverware, glass or ceramic drinking cups and reusable plates at holiday parties

For more tips, visit www.RethinkRecycling.com and search “Reduce Waste During the Holidays.”

Happy holidays from RethinkRecycling.com.


About RethinkRecycling.com: The Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board launched its first education outreach campaign in 2003 to help citizens living in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington understand the urgent need to make environmentally responsible purchasing and disposal decisions in their daily lives. The board is proud to sponsor its current campaign, RethinkRecycling.com.