Greening the Season – Holiday Waste Reduction Tips
Since the holiday season is just around the corner, the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO) has provided some tips for reducing waste and making your holiday season more sustainable. Americans throw away 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than other parts of the year, which is about 1 million extra tons of trash per week each year!
Here are some tips to reduce waste and lessen your impact this holiday season:
- Don’t just toss empty cans, bottles, and other food packaging- recycle them!
- When doing your holiday shopping, avoid plastic bags. Ask for paper if available, or even better bring along reusable shopping bags for your purchases at the grocery and the mall.
- Many cartons (stock, juice cartons, soup boxes etc.) can be recycled in the paper recycling stream.
- Use reusable plates and utensils whenever possible. Make sure you recycle plastic plates and cups if you must use them.
- Opt for fabric napkins and dish cloths instead of paper products. They can be easily tossed into the washer after the festivities.
- Take a few extra minutes to plan your menu and the amounts to cook. Preparing the right portions of food avoids food waste and saves you money.
- Consider sustainable food choices- organic veggies, fruits, and meats, and sustainably sourced seafood. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are sustainable, nutritious, budget-friendly options.
- At the end of the meal, send leftovers home with guests and think about composting any food scraps you might have during prep and after you eat. Food waste makes up at least 15% of our waste streams, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Are you traveling for the holidays and need to find the nearest recycling location? Check out this resource where you can search by material type and location to find the most convenient recycling center. Remember too that there are plenty of places to recycle on campus! All buildings have recycling containers throughout (more than 2,000 on campus), but you can find a map of outdoor recycling locations here where you can drop off materials. A description of all of the materials you can recycle here.