Your Guide to a Greener Holiday Season

environmentaly friendly gifts

Each year, more than 25% more waste is generated during the holiday season than any other time throughout the year. This 25% means an increase in trash by 1 million tons per week, or 5 million extra tons between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day! By practicing the following simple, earth friendly behaviors, we can significantly reduce the amount of garbage that is landfilled during the festive season. Facts on Holiday Waste

Make your gifts greener this holiday season. We give you great ideas for making your holiday gift giving greener with gift-giving ideas, gift wrapping and packaging tips, recycling holiday cards, and throwing a little to no waste party.



Make a commitment not to buy any wrapping paper or ribbons this year. You will be surprised at how many options you have to make your gifts look great! Use old magazines, maps, bows, card fronts, extra photos and anything else you find piled up in your house to wrap gifts. Instead of ribbons, you may consider placing a flower or a sprig of holly on the top as decoration. Colorful or patterned boxes or bags are also nice because they look festive without being wrapped at all and you can use them over and over. The options are endless once you start thinking creatively!

Creative Gifts

According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans plan on spending approximately $812 on holiday gifts this year. About 32% of Americans plan to spend at least $1,000 on gifts this year, 23% say they will spend between $500 and $999, and 30% will spend between $100 and $499. Very few (3%) plan to spend less than $100 (Source: Gallup). Here are suggestions for creative gift ideas:

Do you ever wonder what kind of gift you could give that can help to reduce waste, reduce our carbon footprint, help your community, or is a special gift to give to that person who has everything? Visit our Gifts that Go Outside the Box for great gift giving ideas.

Shopping Tips

  • Consolidate shopping trips.

  • Plan in advance and include friends or family who may also need to go out.

  • Bring your own reusable shopping bags and instead of getting a new bag at each store, combine gifts into larger bags.

Swedish Christmas

Food Waste Prevention

More than 28 billion pounds of food are thrown out each year, equating to approximately 100 pounds per person. To reduce the amount of food and paper products you or your family discard this season, try the following:

  • Ask for RSVPs so that you can estimate how many you'll be feeding before you plan your holiday menu.

  • Practice portion control. Not every member at dinner will consume 3 helpings of stuffing. If you are serving six, a 1/2 pound per person is more than adequate don't purchase a 20-pound turkey, unless you plan on sharing the leftovers. (But don't share food that has been unrefrigerated for more than two hours).

  • Freeze leftovers in tightly sealed containers as soon as possible. Soups, sauces and prepared dishes freeze especially well. Remember to label and date everything.

  • Tips and Resources on How to Reduce Food Waste

  • More Waste-Saving Ideas.


Tips about Holiday Trees.


Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, Americans boost their electricity consumption by 27%. RecycleWorks encourages you to buck the trend.

LED holiday and decorative string lighting have become increasingly popular because they don't get hot, don't break as easily, are energy efficient, and are easy to use. LED lights can save up to 80-90 percent of your holiday lighting energy costs. Learn about safety and how to calculate your energy usage.

  • When buying electronics that require batteries, buy rechargeable batteries and a battery recharger to go with them.

  • If you are making large appliance and electronic purchases, look for the ENERGY STARŪ logo. By using ENERGY STARŪ, the average household can save up to $400 on annual utility bills.

  • Get outdoor light strands wired in parallel. They have separate circuitry so if one bulb blows, the rest keep shining.

Most of all, have a safe and happy holiday season!