October 27 2021

Plan for a greener holiday season this year

While the holidays can be a festive time that many look forward to, it’s also the time of the year when Americans tend to be the most wasteful. In fact, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency notes extra waste during the holidays amounts to 25 million tons of garbage. Additionally, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the holidays and 28 billion pounds of food.

“With a little planning, creativity and organization, families and individuals have an opportunity to save resources while still enjoying the holidays,” said MetroParks sustainability coordinator Tim Pritchard. “Sustainable holiday practices reduce waste and resource consumption, both of which adversely impact the environment.”

Smart shopping: Consider shopping smart by shopping local. Purchasing local goods is often better for the environment, as goods spend less time on the road and your dollars will stay in the local economy.

In lieu of gifting trinkets that could find their way into a landfill, consider an experience, edible treats or cash. Another great option is to craft, upcycle, thrift or DIY a gift.

Additionally, consider reusable gift bags and cloth wrap to avoid the mess and waste made by wrapping paper.

Plan your portions: Food waste plays a major role in climate change. According to Project Drawdown, agriculture and forestry activities generate 24% of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, a study published by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics found that the average U.S. household wastes 31.9% of its food, much of which ends up in the landfill.

Help eliminate food waste by using a virtual portion calculator when planning for holiday parties and family dinners.

Deck the halls, save some energy: When lighting your tree or yard, consider upgrading out-of-date lights to LEDs. Outdated lights can drive up your energy bills, while making the switch can save your money and lessen your carbon footprint.

Waste-free gatherings: The holidays are all about tasty food and family gatherings, all of which can lead to plenty of garbage headed to the landfill. To help eliminate waste, reusable dining ware is the way to go, as Styrofoam, paper plates and plastic cups can’t be recycled in our region. If you must use single-use dining ware, use compostable dining ware if possible. If you can compost locally and are using a caterer, ensure they are able to use compostable service ware for your gathering.

Consider composting: Composting is a great way to divert food waste from the landfill and collect rich material that supports your warm-weather gardening efforts. Learn how to start composting at home and hear from MetroParks’ staff experts and Master Recycling volunteers.

Can’t have a compost system at home? The Foodbank has a compost buckets program you can sign up for.

Recycle Right: Provide your guests with the option to recycle by offering a designated disposal receptacle that is clearly marked for recycling. Learn more about what can be recycled in Montgomery County.

Learn more ways to be sustainable at home by visiting MetroParks’ sustainability at home page.

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