Oh, the Holidays! Decorate, Taste--Watch Your Waste!

Updated: Nov 28

- Patti Lynn, CCSWA Recycling Resources Manager

What time of year generates the most trash for landfills? That’s right, it’s the holiday season. On-line shopping and shipping, wrapping paper, leftover food, toys, and the latest technology replacing the old. You get the idea. Household waste increases about 25% this time of year!

Can you be more TrashSmart? Try these ideas (or even just one!):

  • Downsize – Smaller gathering, less decorations, careful gifting (such as experiences, time or for services) to create less waste

  • Reusable, durable plates and silverware, cups, napkins, tablecloths (ask about renting)

  • Shop (and wrap) with reusable bags

  • Plan for guests to bring a dish in their own containers they can take back home

  • Ask guests to bring reusable containers for leftovers they may take home

  • Cleaning the house – old socks for dusting rags and microfiber fleece cloths are washable

  • Use vinegar for cleaning glass surfaces

  • Send electronic invitations – Evite®, Greenvelope, Punchbowl®, Zazzle, Inc.

  • On-line food planning resources can help you determine how much food you need for parties

  • Gift experiences – tickets to an event, museum or zoo membership, cooking class or trip

  • Gifts of your time – Babysitting, pet sitting, gardening help, lessons for a new hobby, teach someone a new skill

  • Gift cards for services, not goods – gas stations, car washes, hair/nail salon, massage, lawn service, audio books, pet services

  • Homemade food and gifts reflect your creativity, time, and effort

  • Reusable, useful containers such as cookies in a flowerpot, or jewelry in a new pair of gloves

RECYCLING BIN: Non-metallic wrapping paper and greeting cards without batteries

COMPOST: Evergreens, tea bags, coffee grounds, leaves, twigs, fresh cranberries GARBAGE CAN: Cellophane, tissue paper, musical greeting cards, plastic ware, BATTERIES are special and need to be disposed of with care for each type of battery.

So, this year…celebrate how mindful you are with sustainable consumption and disposal practices.

As you begin shopping for that perfect gift, also think of GOOD behaviors and habits YOU could implement to start you on your way to being TrashSmart. New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner!

Patti Lynn is the Chester County Solid Waste Authority Recycling Resources Manager and a frequent contributor to our Sustainability Committee articles on recycling. Chester County Solid Waste Authority is your primary source for local guidelines and information on recycling, waste disposal, household hazardous waste, composting, and conservation.