The most wasteful time of the year

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From Thanksgiving to the New Year, our calendars are jam-packed with holiday parties and gatherings. Not only is this the busiest time of the year, it’s also the most wasteful, with Americans throwing away 25% more trash than any other time of the year. All this waste adds up to an additional 140,000 garbage trucks EVERY week between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Holiday decorations, cards, wrapping paper, disposable plates and gag gifts end up in our landfills following the holidays. Why not try having a merry holiday season without the junk? Read on for tips on how to trim down holiday waste without compromising on holiday cheer.

Holiday Decor

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Holiday lights on American homes consume enough energy to power 400,000 homes in a year. Consider using decorations that don’t require energy use. If you can’t forgo the lights on the Christmas tree, look for energy-efficient light strings, such as LEDs. These are 90% more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs.

Look for decor that is high in quality so it lasts for multiple seasons. Candles and homemade wreaths made from natural materials are eco-friendly options.

Environmentally-Friendly Gifts

Don’t be a grinch to the environment. There are plenty of thoughtful gift ideas that don’t require giving “stuff.” Experiential gifts are often more thoughtful and creative than those that are wrapped. Tickets to shows, sporting events, concerts and movies, and gift cards to a favourite restaurant, are all great gifts ideas. Avoid gag gifts altogether. While funny, they are often tossed into the trash before the New Year.

Wrapping paper is often only used once and many varieties are not recyclable. Newspaper, magazines and reusable gift bags and boxes are excellent alternatives to wrapping paper. For Holiday cards, only use varieties that are recyclable and made from recycled materials.

Consider Green Resolutions

Instead of making the same-old fitness goal, make goals that are both good for you and the earth. Vow to recycle and dispose of items properly year-round. If you know that you will have a significant amount of things to get rid of, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? can help you to quickly and properly dispose of items. Also, consider resolving to limit car use by using public transport or cycling. If you have a yard, you could make a goal to set up a compost.

What are your eco-friendly holiday tips?

Andrea Hanft is a Communications Manager for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and sister companies You Move Me WOW 1 DAY PAINTING . Originally from Toronto, Andrea is very happy to be a Vancouver newbie, spending her weekends hiking and exploring the city. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.

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