With Thanksgiving behind us, people across the U.S. are now preparing for the holidays. They’re stringing up holiday lights, shopping for gifts, planning elaborate meals and carefully placing holiday décor. However, while the holiday season is often thought of a time of giving and reflection, in the recycling and energy industries, it’s also known as a time of excess. Energy usage spikes, budgets are often overblown and, according to Stanford University, “Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week.”
In an effort to combat excessive waste and energy usage, the team at Recycle 1 has gathered our top tips for going green for the holiday season. These are easy ways you can switch up your holiday routine in little ways that can make a big difference in the environment. And keep in mind, you can put these tips to work for you at any time of year.
- LED lights on timers. By now it’s nearly common knowledge that LED lights can save you energy (and cash). The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that residential LED lights can save up to 75 percent of energy. It’s a no brainer to switch to LED Christmas lights if you haven’t already done so. But many LED users fail when they forget to couple their LEDs with a timer. It’s the best way you can strategically cut down on your holiday light energy usage.
- eCards or recycled cards. Let’s face it, eCards have come a long way. They’ve become sophisticated, mainstream and look great on any mobile device. Printing holiday cards uses paper and can easily cost in the hundreds of dollars. This year, choose to use recycled cards or eCards for your holiday greetings.
- Creative gifts. We all collect a lot of stuff in life, and a lot of the time, it’s stuff that we don’t need or things we’ll never use. Re-think your gifting strategy by focusing on necessity and experience: gift certificates, movie tickets, cooking lessons, park passes, used books, do-it-yourself projects—these are just a few ideas of creative gifts that don’t add to waste bins when the holiday season has ended.
- Eco-friendly wrapping paper. Wrapping paper is festive, but it’s a major holiday waste. Re-use previous wrapping paper, get creative with magazines and newsprint, or consciously choose recycled papers to reduce your footprint.
- Buy recycled. If you want to make a difference, put your wallet behind your intention. Buy only recycled products, from gifts to cooking gear and holiday décor.
- Rechargeable batteries. Start treating every battery in your household like you do your mobile device: recharge them all. It’s a switch up of the old habit of toss-and-replace, and instead recharging batteries for a longer shelf life and less environmental impact.
- Recycle electronics and cell phones. A friendly reminder from the team at Recycle 1: you can recycle more than you think, if you do it the right way. Don’t toss your old electronic devices into the trash; make sure you recycle them responsibly and ensure they get put to a smart future use.