Reduce-regift-recycle for the holidays

Looking for ways to avoid the naughty list? We have you covered.

Holiday insights that are not so merry and bright:

  • About 40% of all battery sales take place during the winter holidays.
  • Household waste increases by more than 25% – contributing an additional 1 million tons a week to landfills.
  • 2.65 billion Christmas cards are sold each year in the United States. Compiled, they could fill a football field 10 stories high.
  • Every year, 8,000 tons of wrapping paper are used – about 50,000 trees.

But there are plenty of ways to celebrate during this season of joy and giving while keeping the environment in mind. Simple and small adjustments to traditions can go a long way. For example, when thinking of preparations:

  • Consolidate shopping trips and shop locally. Supporting local makers and artists reduces shipping costs and uplifts the community. Not to mention, buying in person can help ensure gifts are ethically and sustainably sourced.
  • Rethink how gifts are wrapped – swap traditional paper with old newspapers, maps, paper grocery bags or even kid’s artwork. Reusable cloth bags and cloth wraps (furoshiki) work well too.
  • Need batteries? Have plenty of rechargeable batteries charged up and ready to go. 

How about choosing the perfect gifts? Thoughtful gifts come in all shapes and sizes:

  • Rethink regifting. Pass on well-loved books, recipes, propagated plants and stem cuttings or perhaps a funky flea-market find. 
  • For the kiddos, start or add to a child’s savings account or college fund.
  • Give an experience. Popular experiences include concerts, sporting events, museum memberships and restaurant gift certificates.
  • Another way to give experiences is by giving your time and expertise. Are you an artist or do you know your way around the kitchen? If so, share your tips and techniques – it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.   

Post-holidays and how to tackle the mess:

  • Save gifting accoutrements that can be reused, including ribbons, bows, bags and boxes. 
  • Consider how to best make room for new items. Donate any clothing that has been outgrown or old toys.
  • Wondering if, or what, can be recycled here in Omaha? Paper gift wrap and cardboard boxes can be recycled in curbside carts. However, foil, wax, glitter or plastic gift wrap, tissue paper, ribbons, bows and tape cannot be recycled. Check out KeepOmahaBeautiful.org for the complete list.

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