The holidays are right around the corner, so let’s talk about waste and how you can help make less of it
We’ve all been there — you have a pretty good idea of how many guests you have coming over for Thanksgiving, but for some unknown reason, you make enough food to feed an army.
And how about holiday lights? Not everyone is Clark Griswold, nor should we be.
Below we’ll cover some things you can do to help reduce holiday waste this year, which in the long run, helps everyone in Auburn simply have a wonderful Christmas time (and Kwanza, and Hanukkah, and Omisoka and much, much more).
Reduce holiday food waste
Holiday meal planning produces large amounts of trash from disposable packaging, containers, plates, and silverware.
Help keep your mealtime green by following these tips:
Choose the package-free route by purchasing holiday staples like grains, dried fruits, nuts, and candy from bulk bins at grocery stores.
- Use a dinner party calculator at www.savethefood.com/guestimator to help you make just the right amount of food for your holiday meals.
- Ask guests to bring reusable containers with them to take home leftovers instead of having them go to waste.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins and towels, and real plates, glasses, and silverware instead of disposables
- Compost all food scraps and other organic materials instead of tossing them in the trash
For more information at www.kingcounty.gov/ search Green Holidays.
Reduce holiday gift waste
Many surveys show that millions of unwanted gifts end up in landfills every year.
When making your gift lists for family and friends, consider the eco-friendly ideas below.
Give Handmade, Secondhand, Re-gifted or Experiences
- Make it or bake it. Bake some yummy deserts or easy ready-to-cook meals. Make a quilt from old t-shirts or scrap fabrics, find local handmade crafts, or create a “spa day” with homemade lotions, soaps, face or body scrub.
- Buy from secondhand stores. Save natural resources by reusing items or create your own artistic item by reusing materials.
- Re-gift a gift. It is totally okay to pass along a gift you received if you do not use or need it.
- Give an experience. Schedule a coffee date, nature walk or give tickets to a local event such as a play, museum, zoo, restaurant or movie theater.
Gift Wrapping & Cards
Most wrapping paper is not recyclable. If it is shiny, contains foil or metallics, or is heavily laminated — put it in the garbage. Bow and ribbons also go into the garbage.
- Make your own wrapping paper. Use plain brown craft paper or bag (decorate with stamps or markers) or an existing container, tie it with natural twine, and finish with fresh twigs and berries.
- Use fabrics. Buy scarfs, cloth napkins or embroidered handkerchiefs from the thrift store, or cotton bags. Do not forget to use eco-friendly tape and twine.
- Make your own Christmas Cards. You can use card stock paper (colored or plain) and draw your own design or use holiday rubber stamps. Decorate with colored markers, pencils, crayons, and photos to personalize your cards for family and friends.
More information can be found at www.kingcounty.gov search for Green Holidays.
Lights out? Don’t throw away — recycle!
Recycle your unusable holiday lights for FREE!
Take your broken or damaged light strands to:
101 Lund Road
Hours: Monday — Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00pm
Accepted: LED or incandescent lights on wire strand
Not accepted: Loose lights (not attached to light strand); light strands attached to decorations; Fluorescent lights.
Need to fix a few bulbs?
Burned-out holiday lights, even the cheap kind, are often fixable with a small investment in time and money.