The holiday season is a time of cheer, but it also can be a time of increased waste. To help you celebrate more sustainably, here’s a list of 12 ways to reduce waste and enjoy a greener holiday season.
Day 1: Reuse, Recycle, or Compost Shipping and Gift Boxes
With online shopping on the rise, cardboard boxes are everywhere. Instead of adding them to the landfill, consider reusing these boxes for gift wrapping or storing holiday decorations. Can’t reuse them? Remember, they can be recycled or composted – especially in your GEOBIN® Composter. Just remove any plastic and break down the boxes first.
Day 2: Reduce Gift Wrap Waste
Each year, Americans use 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper, half of which ends up in landfills across the country. Instead of buying pricey wrapping paper, opt for recyclable and compostable options like craft paper or plain brown paper bags. Decorate them creatively with non-toxic inks or stamps. For a vintage touch, repurpose newspapers – but steer clear of glossy pages.
Day 3: Compost Newspaper Ads
Instead of trashing those holiday ads, compost them. Most are printed with soy-based ink, making them compost-friendly. Just avoid glossy flyers, which are better suited for recycling.
Day 4: Reduce Food Waste
Over 70 billion pounds of food waste reaches our landfills every year, contributing to methane emissions and wasting energy and resources across the food supply chain.
This year you can help reduce food waste by being mindful about what you purchase and prepare for your holiday meals and composting what you can.
- Clean & organize your pantry and refrigerator: This will help reduce stress while preparing your meal and allow you to take inventory of the ingredients you already have so you don’t purchase more than you need.
- Use a food planning calculator to create your shopping list.
- Repurpose leftovers.
- Compost scraps and leftovers.
Day 6: Give the Gift of Composting
The GEOBIN® Composter makes a great gift for friends and family members interested in composting but intimated by the idea. Order the GEOBIN Composter online.
Day 7: Compost Popcorn & Cranberry Garland
Before holiday decorations and ornaments were mass-produced, people would adorn their trees with fruits and other household items. Popcorn became popular in the 19th and 20th centuries because it was relatively inexpensive and seen as a festive and fun treat. People often added cranberries for a pop of color.
If you’re opting for a thrifty and eco-friendly holiday, pop some corn this weekend and create your own popcorn & cranberry garland. When the holidays have passed, add the popcorn and berries to your compost.
Day 8: Compost Poinsettias
More than 35 million potted poinsettias are sold every year in the US, accounting for almost one-quarter of the potted plants sold. Instead of throwing your holiday plant in the trash, compost it instead.
Day 9: Compost Pine Cones
As pine cones break down, they release nutrients that can be beneficial to your compost. They might take a while to break down, but you can chop them up to facilitate decomposition.
Day 10: Compost Your Christmas Tree
Keep your tree out of the landfill by composting it. Cut your tree into smaller pieces before adding it to your compost bin to help speed up decomposition.
Day 11: Compost Wood Ash
It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the warmth of a wood-burning fireplace. Wood ash is a great addition to your compost pile. It’s alkaline, so applying it to compost heaps helps to balance the tendency of compost to be more acidic.
Day 12: Compost Natural Potpourri
Homemade natural potpourri is a wonderful way to make your home smell warm and inviting this holiday season. You can make it with things you may already have on hand, like citrus fruit, cinnamon sticks, cranberries, cloves, and rosemary. When you’re finished with the potpourri, you can compost the fruit and spices.
- 1 orange sliced or quartered
- 1 cup cranberries
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp. cloves
- 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
Add your ingredients to a saucepan with 4-6 cups of water. Bring to a simmer on low heat and enjoy!