Rudolph the Green Smart Reindeer

Posted on December 01, 2017

‘Twas the weeks before the holidays, and all through the house

There were ways to reduce, reuse and recycle that you hadn’t thought about

The menus were planned and all the food would be tasted

In hopes that not a thing at all would be wasted

The gifts were experiences instead of more things

Lessening the impact done by packaging

The goal for the season is to be totally waste free

Enter the New Year being environmentally friendly!

No Waste for the Holidays

The holidays are here and it is time to work against the accumulation of waste and belongings that happen every year. Waste tends to increase during the holiday season. There are some crazy statistics that go along with it. For example, about 8,000 tons of wrapping paper are used every year and the 2.65 billion holiday cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high.

You can reduce waste for the holidays in every aspect including the meals you prepare, the gifts you give, the decorations you hang, and the products you use. Be creative with ways to reduce and reuse, including eco-friendly decorations, a real Christmas tree or wreath, alternatives to wrapping paper, and green party favors.

The Zero Waste Gift Alternative

Do you have enough stuff? How about people on your shopping list? Instead of accumulating more and having to deal with packaging, wrapping, batteries, and storage of new items, give experiences instead.

Here are some experiential ideas for your gift list:

  • Membership to a local tool library
  • Coupons for lessons, chores, or services like transportation or cleaning
  • Passes to a museum or a membership to a local organization
  • Fix-it clinic coupons
  • Homemade recipe book and cooking lessons

You also can give gifts that will help others reduce waste in their everyday lives. Consider the packaging of the items you purchase. Be sure to purchase high-quality products that will last longer. Use alternatives to giftwrap like newspapers, fabric scraps or reusable decorative bags. Give the gifts that keep on reusing like:

  • Organics collection containers
  • Reusable produce bags
  • Reusable paper towels or napkins
  • Canning kits and instructions to help prevent food waste
  • Reusable options for camping or picnics
  • Coffee canteens
  • Reusable lunch box items

Green Home for the Holidays

Are you hosting the holiday gathering this year? Make it a green event! Any family event can be made green with a little planning and some creativity. Use reusable plates, cups, silverware, and napkins. Keep an eye out for food waste by carefully planning your menu. Use signs on your bins to help your guests recycle as much as possible. Give the gift of recycling knowledge to your guests and lead by example.

And to All a Green Life

Look around. Are there old or unused things that should go before the new arrives? Use donation or resale options. Be sure to donate items in a timely manner and don’t let them degrade in storage.

By going green for the holidays and using the three Rs for every part of your holiday prep, you are laying the groundwork to go greener in your everyday life. Find more ways to reduce, reuse and recycle in the New Year and beyond!


Beginning in 2018, the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board will discontinue monthly blogs and e-newsletters. As always, questions about recycling may be directed to county and city recycling staff.