Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans throw away 25% more trash. This means that if a family usually fills up four carts of trash per month, during the holidays they will fill five carts of trash each month.
Remind students that they are conserving natural resources and reducing energy consumption by recycling and composting. This is the best time of year to be aware of our waste since this is the season we create the most. The holiday season also gives us a chance to be creative and give a gift to future generations by minimizing the environmental impact of our celebrations. Read on for environmental tips to share…
Recycle While Preparing Holiday Goodies
Think about the food we eat during the holidays: ham, turkey, dressing, potatoes, salad, baked goods, and drinks. Now think about all the food containers that are discarded as the dinner is prepared. These materials are saved from the landfill when they are recycled.
Here are some common recyclables found in kitchens during holiday meal preparation: Clean aluminum trays, pie pans, foil, and aluminum cans; steel cans; glass beverage bottles; cake mix and dressing boxes; plastics such as beverage bottles and margarine tubs.
Natural resources are conserved when we recycle. Some of the resources conserved include sedimentary rocks like bauxite ore and iron ore, sand, trees, and petroleum.
How many resources would be saved collectively if everyone in your neighborhood recycled?
Holiday Tips to Reduce, Reuse, and $ave
A 2007 holiday shopping survey found that 88% of respondents were concerned about the environment. We can translate that into our lifestyle and reduce excess consumption.
If everyone in the United States used a disposable pan to cook their Thanksgiving turkey, there would be 46 million tinfoil pans headed to the landfill every year. Invest in a reusable heavy-duty roasting pan.
- Each year, Americans use enough plastic wrap to cover all of Texas. Ask your guests to bring their own reusable food containers for leftovers.
- It takes massive amounts of energy to produce, can, and transport vegetables. Choose to cook with locally-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Make a list of the holiday decorations you need this year. Search for needed items at secondhand stores. Look for natural items to decorate your home like evergreen boughs, pine cones, berries, and fresh fruit. Turn used or recyclable materials into holiday décor while making memories. There are countless holiday craft ideas online.
- Recycle non-working incandescent holiday lights. There are many locations in St. Louis to drop off incandescent lights. Find a location near you.
- If you love to shop and receive new gifts, give and ask for eco-friendly gifts. Check out Saint Louis County Department of Health’s Buy Recycled Guide for ideas of gifts made with recycled content.
- Skip the mall for after-holiday deals– spend precious time with loved ones instead.
Unwrap the 3R’s
Save gift bags and ribbons to reuse throughout the year. You might be able to reuse the wrapping paper but if you can’t, place non-foil types of paper in your recycle bin. You can also recycle the boxes. As for packaging materials, you can recycle any paper and cardboard.
Reuse or recycle holiday greeting cards; you can quickly make them into gift tags or new holiday cards for next year.
St. Louis County residents can recycle foam and polystyrene packing material. Drop off material in tightly-sealed plastic bags at EPC’s Earth City location. Hours of collection are between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. They are located at 4025 Lakefront Court, Earth City, MO 63045. You cannot recycle any Styrofoam or polystyrene material in your residential curbside container.
Foam peanuts are accepted at most UPS and PakMail stores. Please call ahead to make sure they will accept them.
When shopping, choose gift items with minimal packaging. Clear plastic packaging that comes with toys, games, and other such items, must go into the trash.
Facts source: The Green Year by Jodi Helmer