With Hanukkah already underway and Christmas quickly approaching, many holiday-lovers are rushing out to finish up last minute gift shopping and wrapping. In December 2010, Americans spent approximately $27.2 billion at various department stores. Although gift giving is a fulfilling and fun way to celebrate the holidays, it can quickly become a wasteful activity – with mountains of wrapping paper, boxes, cards, ribbons, and trashed gifts.
In an article published by Recycle Works, a recycling company in Redwood City, CA, the extra waste generated by Americans during the holiday season is broken down into categories from food waste to Christmas cards. Full of startling statistics, the numbers put holiday consumption in perspective. For example, Recylce Works estimates that in the short period between Thanksgiving and New Years, there is a 25% increase in household waste.
It’s easy to find yourself “wrapped up” in the holiday season, but here are five tips to cut back on your holiday consumption:
1) Re-gift. Although it’s often frowned upon, re-gifting is an excellent way to avoid buying unnecessary things.
2) Invest in re-usable gift bags. Throw the gift in the bag, pull the draw string, and attach a tag. It’s quick, easy, and 100% re-usable.
3) Wrap gifts in newspaper. Are there stacks of old newspapers sitting in your recycle bin? Make use out of them – comics make great wrappings for almost anyone.
4) Cut back on Holiday cards. 2.65 billion Christmas cards are sold every year – consider sending an e-card or a festive e-mail to cut back on paper usage.
5) Re-plant your Christmas tree. Every year, approximately 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in the United States with about 30 million of those ending in landfills. If you do not have the storage space to keep a faux-fir, find a place to plant your holiday tree.