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Last Minute Ways to Reduce Waste This Christmas

The following post is from Emily of Live Renewed:

source: sebrenner

Christmas is almost here! The excitement is building at our house for celebrations both small, with just our immediate family, and large, with our extended families. But besides presents and lots of really good food, the other thing that holidays are known for is creating lots of waste.

This Christmas, with a little planning ahead — both before your Christmas celebrations and for once the holidays are past — you can reduce the waste your family creates.

With these simple and easy ideas, you’ll lessen the burden of the holidays on the planet:

Gift Giving

First of all, remember to bring your own cloth or resuable bag for any last minute shopping trips you make. You don’t want to end up with too many of those plastic bags (but if you do, you can always refer to Katie’s post for how to use them up.)

Then, remember the three R’s when it comes to wrapping.

  • Reduce the amount of disposable wrapping paper you need by using reusable options like cloth bags, or even gift bags which can be used again year after year.
  • Reuse gift wrapping materials from previous years, if you’ve kept them from last year (see below)
  • Recycle other types of paper into gift wrap – like children’s artwork, newspaper comics, even brown bags or paper shopping bags.

Check out this great post over at Simple Mom for even more great eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas.

Ditch Disposables

It’s easy to reach for the paper plates, napkins, and plastic cups during holiday celebrations whether your hosting a large or small group, because it makes clean-up easier. But, you can keep this Christmas eco-friendly by using real plates and silverware, and cloth napkins, which will also make your meal that much more special. Make sure to assign after-dinner dishes duty, and remember that many hands make light work.

Collect wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbons, bows, and boxes

Be sure to keep any wrapping items that can be reused – like wrapping paper that hasn’t been totally ripped apart, decorative ribbons and bows, gift bags and cardboard boxes out of the trash bag and set them aside in a box to put away to use again next year. You’ll save resources and also save yourself money when you don’t have to go out and buy as many wrapping materials next year.

source: kissyface

Reuse or Recycle Christmas Cards

You can cut off the front of Christmas cards to use as thank you notes, or save them for Christmas postcards, gift tags, or crafts next year. You can also send your cards to the recycling program at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children which makes “new” cards for the next season out of this year’s cards. Here are a few more ideas for your old Christmas cards.

Recycle Your Tree

If you cut down a live tree this year, find a recycling program for Christmas Trees in your area for when you’re ready to take your tree down. Over 90 percent of live trees are turned into mulch each year, which is a great way to give live trees another use.

I’ve also heard other great ideas for reusing trees by setting them out in the yard with popcorn garlands and bird seed ornaments for squirrels and birds. I really like that idea because I’m sure my kids would love to watch the animals eating the “treats” off the tree.  Another option if you’re keeping your tree is to put it into a brush or compost pile where it can be a shelter for small animals during the winter.

I hope you all have wonderful, and green, Christmas celebrations with your family and friends!

How does your family reduce the impact and waste of your holiday celebrations?

Emily McClements strives to live with compassion and caring for creation in a way that will impact the world. She is a blessed wife and mama to three young children, and blogs about her family’s journey toward natural and simple living at Live Renewed.