Reducing Holiday Waste

Shop secondhand
  • Browse vintage boutiques and thrift stores
  • Visit your local ReSource
  • Put out an ask for a particular item on Front Porch Forum or your local Buy Nothing project
Give a gift that needs no packaging—an experience!
  • Friends and family love the outdoors?
    • Offer to pay the entrance fee for a national, state, or local park you know they would enjoy
  • Friends and family love to learn?
    • Gift a trip to one of Vermont’s many wonderful museums! Great options for kids alike

Looking for more ideas? Check out this Gift Guide from the Center for Biological Diversity

Stocking stuffers

Consider stuffing stockings with reusable and/or plastic-free replacements to common stuffers and other household items*

*LRSWMD is providing examples but is not endorsing any particular product or company

Holiday cards

Each year, an estimated 1.3 billion holiday cards are sold in the US (enough to fill a football field 10 stories high!)

  • Instead of a traditional card, consider a handmade card on recyclable paper, an e-card, or a telephone call
  • If you do purchase holiday cards, look for ones made of recycled paper and avoid those with glossy, shiny, or gold foil coatings since they can’t be recycled
  • Save the cards you receive this year and cut off the front pictures to reuse as postcards or gift tags next year
Gift wrap
  • For an eye-catching gift tag, cut off the front of any holiday cards you received in the previous year and write the recipient’s name on the blank side
  • Save on gift wrap by reusing intact pieces from the previous year, or by opting for a more durable material that you can use again and again, such as a cloth bag.
  • Wrap small gifts in colorful pages torn from magazines
  • Wrap large gifs using old maps or the Sunday comics
  • Look for wrapping paper that is made of recycled paper and is itself recyclable
  • Unwrap gifts carefully and save wrappings for reuse next year
  • Save the ribbons and bows you receive on gifts and reuse them this or next year
Food waste

Hosting a gathering this year? Check out the Guest-imator, which can help you plan shopping and portions to reduce unwanted leftovers

Here are a few tips for reducing food waste this season:

  • Try not to over prepare food; instead try to prepare “just enough”
  • Encourage friends and family to take leftovers home
  • Practice “stem-to-root” cooking (for example, turn carrot tops into pesto or create a slaw out of broccoli stems)
  • Put your oldest leftover holiday up front in the fridge so you remember to eat them first
  • Store leftovers in the freezer to enjoy after you’ve had a break from them for a little while
  • Search “holiday leftover recipes” online for new ideas

Check out our page on local food donation options

Sources:

https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-holiday-waste-prevention

www.abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/simple-steps-reducing-waste-holiday-season-81225206

www.almostzerowaste.com/consumable-gifts/

www.almostzerowaste.com/experience-gifts/

www.consciouslifeandstyle.com/sustainable-eco-friendly-stocking-fillers/

www.epa.state.oh.us/pic/facts/holiday

www.neefusa.org/holiday-waste

www.nofamass.org/articles/2021/11/5-ways-to-simplify-the-holidays/

www.popsci.com/how-to-reduce-holiday-waste/

www.simplifytheholidays.org/better-gift-giving

www.worldwildlife.org/stories/how-to-reduce-food-waste-this-holiday-season

www.zerowastememoirs.com/eco-friendly-stocking-fillers/