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Holiday Waste Reduction Tips

cart_garbageThe holidays often increase the amount of garbage produced in homes. Packaging in the mail, envelopes from holiday greeting cards, present wrappings, and extra goodies during the season all add to the garbage already in our trash cans.

Here are some ideas to help limit household waste during the holidays, and throughout the year:

  • Donate packing materials to an accepting mail stop business or save for sending future packages.
  • Reuse wrapping and ribbon when possible, or purchase gift bags and tissue paper as an alternative, which can be reused easily. Think up creative wrapping ideas: reusable containers like baskets, tins, hat boxes, or cloth bags can create a unique presentation for your gift. Buy recycled-content gift wrap and greeting cards or make them from brown Kraft paper, paper bags or the Sunday comics. Paint, draw, stamp or print designs on the paper.
  • Donate old sports equipment, clothing, and toys to used sporting goods stores, charities, or school drama groups for costumes.
  • Use old ornaments as gift decorations or recycle them by decorating holiday wreaths.
  • Recycle extra aluminum foil and cans that come with holiday feasts and their leftovers, or even better, use reusable plastic containers. Give cookies and baked goods in holiday tins that can be reused.
  • Make gift-giving more practical. Consider useful gifts that will not end up in the attic or in the back of the closet by creating family wish lists.
  • Give a gift of time or talent. Take someone to a play, concert or the zoo. Make gift certificates for a special dinner, pet sitting, house cleaning, gardening, or financial planning. Teach someone a skill, such as knitting, furniture building, or playing the piano.
  • Give gifts that benefit the environment. Give gifts made from recycled-content materials, such as wind chimes made from recycled glass. Give a compost bin, a plant for the house or garden, or a membership to an environmental organization.
  • Consider giving gifts without packaging, such as experiences like massages, gift certificates for stores and restaurants, a day of sailing, lessons, classes, etc. Experiences are remembered long after other presents wear out.
  • For more holiday ideas visit  King County's Green Holidays Program .

If you have any questions about finding ways to reduce holiday waste, call Renton's Solid Waste Utility at 425.430.7396, or email the Solid Waste Coordinator.