While the holiday season is the most joyous time of the year, it’s also the trashiest. With all the holiday parties filled with extra food and drinks and the miles upon miles of gift wrap we use each Christmas, we can accumulate a mound of trash every year. Instead of filling the landfill with unneeded waste again this Christmas, consider these simple tips to reduce your family’s waste this holiday season.

How to Reduce Waste This Holiday Season

Eliminate Christmas Cards

Well, you don’t have to eliminate Christmas cards completely. You can still wish your friends and family a happy holiday season, just don’t do it with a paper card. Instead, send your Christmas cards by email to reduce the amount of paper (and trash) you distribute this holiday season. Your family will love receiving a cute photo of your family and hear about the amazing year you’ve had, even if it comes into their inbox instead of their mailbox. And as an added bonus – you’ll have a lot more space to fill your friends and family in on everything your wonderful family accomplished this year because you won’t be limited to the tiny space on a traditional Christmas card!

Chose Reusable Bags

Christmas is a time for shopping, which means you’ll be accumulating tons of shopping bags along the way. Reduce the number of bags that end up in the trash by taking your own reusable shopping bags with you on your Christmas shopping trips. And if you do end up with a few extra shopping bags, be sure to return them to the store’s bag recycling receptacle the next time you’re at the store so they don’t end up in a landfill somewhere down the line.

Skip the Wrapping Paper

One of the biggest wastes each holiday season is the endless amount of wrapping paper we rip through and toss in the trash. To eliminate the use of wrapping paper this Christmas, consider a few alternative options for gift wrap. The most eco-friendly way to wrap your Christmas presents is to give your gifts in reusable shopping bags. These bags will serve double duty – they’ll provide a pretty way to package your gifts and they’ll encourage your gift recipients to supply their own bags the next time they go shopping.

If you can’t picture a Christmas without gift wrap, purchase wrapping paper made of recycled material and be sure to recycle your own gift wrap at the end of the holiday. Other great wrapping paper options include newspaper or decorated craft paper. You could also think about reusing decorative items, like ribbons and gift tags, from other holidays to make your eco-friendly wrapping look picture perfect.

Don’t Toss Your Tree

The wonderful smell and realistic look of a real Christmas tree is a great way to celebrate the holiday, but disposing of the tree after Christmas can pose a problem. Instead of throwing your old Christmas tree to the curb this holiday, consider taking it to a tree recycling center to reduce waste after the holiday is over. Another great way to reduce Christmas tree waste is to use a potted Christmas tree instead of one that has been cut. That way, you can plant the tree after the holiday season and enjoy it for years to come.

Recharge Your Batteries

Did you know nearly half of all battery sales throughout the year happen during the holidays? That means a ton of batteries are going to end up in the trash a few months down the road. To reduce this huge amount of waste, purchase rechargeable batteries for all of your battery-operated gifts this year. Even better, purchase rechargeable batteries to go along with gifts you purchase for others, too. That way you’ll know your friends and family won’t be contributing to the battery waste this year either.

Upcycle

There are so many items you mindlessly throw away when you’re finished with them that could actually be repurposed into something beautiful or useful. Instead of instantly throwing away items like jars, storage containers, or boxes, think creatively about what they could be used for in the future. Whether you turn your pickle jars into pretty candle holders for your Thanksgiving dinner table or paint used light-bulbs and turn them into ornaments, you’ll be happy you reduced a little waste and made something pretty for your home.

Start Composting

With so many family meals and get-togethers, we go through a lot of food during the holiday season. While leftovers may be delicious, a ton of that food ends up in the trash. Instead of throwing out your food this Christmas, consider starting a compost pile in your yard to reduce the amount of food waste coming from your home. Vegetable peelings, egg shells, newspapers, tea bags, and natural food scraps (avoid processed items and proteins) are all wonderful items to add to your compost pile. Not only will you be reducing your family’s waste this season, you’ll also be preparing for spring. Your garden will never look better next year!

More Christmas Content