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Greening Your Holidays

EPA's green tips on how to reduce waste during the holidays.

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Greening Your Holidays

Greening Your Holidays

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Homemade Bows: Recycle old magazine scraps to create your own holiday bows. Friends and family will want to save them long after the wrapping paper has been torn away.

Reduce & Reuse: Even Better than Recycling. To reduce holiday waste, buy durable goods and reuse, repair, share, and donate . Reuse prevents the need to create the product from scratch, which saves resources and energy while also preventing pollution.

E-cycle or Donate Your Old Electronics. Got a new phone, game, etc.? E-cycle your old device, or better yet, donate it to a charity. Recycling a million laptops saves energy equivalent to the yearly electricity use of more than 3,500 US homes.

Where Can I Donate or Recycle My Used Electronics? | US EPA

Holiday Green with DIY Wreath. Make your own wreath and be green! Trim evergreens, then wind them into a metal or grapevine wreath. Use twine, a glue gun, or floral wire to attach.

WYCD Winter | By Season | What You Can Do | Wastes | US EPA

Reduce Food Waste with a Splash. Before fruit goes bad, put it in an ice-cube tray with water or juice, then freeze. Use the fruit ice to make your holiday punch more festive.

  • Keep America Beautiful
    Keep America Beautiful

    What a refreshing tip for reducing all year round!

Compost your Holiday Food Waste. Americans threw away more than 36 million tons of food in 2011. Almost all of that went to landfills, where it can decompose to produce methane, a greenhouse gas more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Composting it instead gives you rich soil for your plants and helps fight climate change.

Composting At Home | Reduce, Reuse, Recycle | US EPA

Think Green while Holiday Shopping.Buy gifts made with recycled content and that can be recycled (look for a label). Buying products with recycled content encourages manufactures to make more recycled-content products available.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle | US EPA
  • Alysen Woodruff
    Alysen Woodruff

    You must consult the program in your area to determine recyclability.

  • Keep America Beautiful
    Keep America Beautiful

    Good tip! It's so important to close the recycling loop by buying recycled-content items!

DIY: New Uses for Old Holiday Cards. Reuse holiday cards as postcards or as gift tags. Postcard: cut off the front and put on a stamp on the other side. Gift tag: cut cards into smaller pieces and attach with tape or ribbon.

WYCD Winter | By Season | What You Can Do | Wastes | US EPA
  • Keep America Beautiful
    Keep America Beautiful

    Holiday cards are too beautiful to throw away! Both uses are fun ways to give them a "second life."

Greener Christmas Trees. Buy a potted tree for your Christmas tree this year and enjoy it year-round. Or buy a balled tree and plant it after the holidays. If you do use a live Christmas tree, recycle it after the holidays instead of sending it to a landfill. Ask your local solid waste department whether they collect and mulch trees. Your town might use chippings from mulched trees for hiking trails and beachfront erosion barriers.

WYCD Winter | By Season | What You Can Do | Wastes | US EPA

Make your Packaging Part of the Gift. Show you care and avoid packaging waste by baking goodies for your loved ones and putting them in reusable containers.

WYCD Winter | By Season | What You Can Do | Wastes | US EPA

Go Green with DIY Holiday Decorations. Have a create-your-own-decorations party with family and friends. Create decorations from old greeting cards or cookie dough. Make origami stars from old newspapers and garland with popcorn or cranberries. Or try making potpourri made from spices such as cinnamon and cloves.

WYCD Winter | By Season | What You Can Do | Wastes | US EPA

Reuse and Be Crafty – Holiday Cards Get a Fresh Look. Reduce paper waste and save money: make new holiday cards from scrap paper, or attach new backs to the fronts of old cards. This can be a fun holiday craft project for your family and friends.

Gift Wrapping Gone Green. Be green when wrapping gifts. Reuse wrapping paper from the previous year or use recycled paper, maps, magazines, newspaper, or even packing paper from packages you receive. Also, don’t forget to save your used wrapping paper for next year.

WYCD Winter | By Season | What You Can Do | Wastes | US EPA