Tis’ the season to be jolly, eat great food, share gifts, and decorate every inch of your home as festive as possible. Unfortunately, the festivities of Christmas and the holiday season also lead to a significant increase in waste generated by Americans. From Thanksgiving to New Year, American’s waste production increases by more than 25%. That increase equals out to about one million extra tons of trash over just a six week span. This huge increase of waste includes everything from food waste, to wrapping paper, to packaging from gifts. Historically, about 33% of the waste generated during the holiday season ends up being disposed properly, but Cali Carting would like to see that figure increase. Follow these tips on reducing the amount of waste your household produces during the holidays and together, we can make a difference in the huge uptick of recyclable items that end up filling up landfills throughout the Tri-State.

Real Christmas Trees

Many Americans have made the switch from a real Christmas tree to an artificial one. They may think they are being environmentally conscious by not cutting down a tree, but in actuality, there is nearly half a million acres of farm land in the United States alone that are dedicated to growing Christmas trees. These trees are grown for the sole purpose of being cut down and brought into a home to be decorated by families. After each tree is cut down, Christmas tree farmers will plant 3-4 new trees for a future crop. Once the holidays have passed and it’s time to get rid of your tree, there are plenty of ways to ensure that the tree has an additional use beyond the joy it brought your family. Trees can be mulched down or buried for compost, used in community parks to line walkways, and even used on beaches to help prevent erosion of important sand dunes.

Send the Party Home with More than they Came With

Anyone who has hosted a holiday party can tell you that the amount of leftovers that the host ends up with can take over an entire refrigerator, and can do some serious harm to that diet that was part of a New Year’s resolution.  One of the best ways to make sure that the host doesn’t get stuck with tons of leftovers from their holiday gathering is to send guests home with doggy bags filled with treats and leftovers from the party. Instead of just dumping all of the food in the trash, guests can make the most of the leftovers in whatever way they wish.

Wrap Intelligently

One of the biggest chores of the holiday season is making sure that every gift is perfectly wrapped and presented before it’s given to the recipient. The gift wrapping industry is a multi-million dollar industry for a reason, and sales of wrapping paper often end up being one of the leading products of the holiday season. What many are unaware of is that most wrapping paper is not recyclable, especially those shiny wrapping papers that lots of people love. Take a proactive approach to wrapping gifts this year by pairing up multiple gifts in one piece of wrapping paper instead of wrapping each gift individually. Another great alternative is to find other ways to wrap gifts, like using the comic pages, pages from old books, or newspaper clippings that will add a unique look to your gifts while remaining eco-friendly.

Look for Gifts with Minimal Packaging

This Christmas morning, after all the gifts have been opened, take a look around the room and check out which pile is larger…the pile of wrapping paper or the pile of packaging from the gifts that were received by everyone. Experts estimate that over 80 million tons of packaging waste is produced in the United States each year. When shopping for gifts this year, try to find items that don’t come in a huge cardboard box with multiple pieces of plastic to hold the item in the box. Roughly 50% of this packaging waste makes it into a recyclable plant, but during the holidays, it becomes significantly less because of the volume of waste that our garbage crews deal with.

Enjoying the holiday season is everyone’s goal, and taking a small role in ensuring that your neighborhood, town, county, country, and planet are a little bit cleaner is one of the best gifts that you can give to the environment. Cali Carting wishes you and your family a very happy and healthy holiday season filled with memorable times spent with family and friends.