“Reduce, reuse and recycle” isn’t always a top priority during the holiday season. But consciously working to approach holidays in a less wasteful and more sustainable way is both cost-effective and eco-friendly — and a great way to model your care for the environment to children! These ideas can help you and your family have a more eco-conscious holiday season:
- Shopping: Remember to bring reusable bags to the mall the way you do to the supermarket. If you forget, you can use the store bags you receive as gift wrapping — simply tie handles with a bow. You can also recycle and reuse boxes you receive from online retailers.
- Wrapping and Packing: According to Earth911, about 2.3 million pounds of wrapping ends up in landfills each holiday season. You can help reduce this number by using paper or plastic bags, colorful newspaper or magazine pages, old maps or other paper — for example, your child’s artwork — as gift wrap or gift tags. Use twine, string or upcycled t-shirts (cut into strips) as ribbon or ties for gift tags.
- Christmas Tree: In Los Angeles you can recycle your Christmas tree just by putting it in your green trash bin. This way, your tree won’t go to waste and can be turned into something else. Be sure to take off all the lights, ornaments and other decorations before recycling the tree, and cut it into smaller pieces if it doesn’t fit in the bin with the top closed.
- Consider purchasing a potted tree or plant to decorate as your Christmas tree. When the holidays are over, it can become a year-round house plant, and when the holidays come back around it can be transformed back into a festive holiday tree.
- Food Waste: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 30 percent of food during the holidays goes to waste. Have a “leftover potluck” after the holidays with friends or neighbors. (That way, nobody has to cook — or eat their own leftovers!) If you have extra canned goods and nonperishable food items, consider donating them to a homeless shelter. The Los Angeles Mission is a great nonprofit offering services for the homeless and other people in need.
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