Go green, don’t be a Grinch — holiday waste reduction

Go green, don’t be a Grinch — holiday waste reduction

Some tips on how to reduce waste this holiday season.

December is flush with potlucks, parties and social gatherings of every imaginable sort. While the gift-giving and good cheer can be contagious, so can the waste! Did you know that during the holidays, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash and waste 33 percent more food?

But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a Grinch to be green during the holidays! There are a few things you can do to reduce waste from gifts, potlucks and decorations this season.

When it comes to gifts, there are many ways to rethink and reduce. Try gifting experiences, rather than things, to avoid waste. It’s the perfect opportunity to try something new with your loved ones — wine tasting, a new restaurant, a sporting event or pottery class. The options are endless.

Whatever your gift, our No. 1 waste reduction tip is to wrap presents with re-used materials like newspaper or last year’s gift bags and bows. When you can’t reduce or reuse, make sure you Recycle Right! Almost all wrapping paper can be recycled. The exception is paper with a plastic coating or metallic finish. Bows and ribbons cannot be recycled, so save them for next year. If they’re not in reusable condition, toss them in the garbage.

Another way to go green during the holidays is to avoid food waste. Holiday feasts can lead to extra food, so ask dinner guests to bring a reusable container to take home leftovers. Freezing leftovers is also a great option. For food scraps that can’t be salvaged, make sure to put them in the food/yard waste cart so they can be composted.

Finally, remember to be environmentally conscious when it comes to holiday lights and decorations. As always, the first step is to reduce and reuse as much as possible! Get creative with a homemade wreath or ornaments. Buy energy-efficient LED light strands wired in parallel, so if one burns out, the others will still work, and you can avoid throwing away the whole strand.

Once it’s time to retire a strand of lights, dispose of them properly, which is to say, NOT in your recycling cart (this is important and worth repeating: holiday lights cannot be recycled in your curbside cart)! Light strands cause problems at recycling centers because they tangle around recycling equipment and create hazards for workers. However, some facilities offer holiday light recycling. To find a list of locations in King County, visit KingCounty.gov and search “holiday light recycling.”

Here’s to a green holiday season filled with fun and good cheer!

Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach manager. Learn more about waste reduction at Recycle OftenRecycleRight.com.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Rethinking a natural gas ban in Washington state | Brunell

Sometimes being first isn’t good. Such is the case with legislation making… Continue reading

Jayendrina Singha Ray is a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English Composition and Research Writing at Highline College, WA, and has previously taught English at colleges in India.
Asian women and racial violence in the aftermath of Atlanta | Guest column

In her famous essay “The Laugh of the Medusa,” Hélène Cixous resurrects… Continue reading

Stock photo
The right to vote helps rehumanize incarcerated people | Guest column

By Kim Bogucki, For The Reporter In 2008, I began asking incarcerated… Continue reading

Courtesy image
Thoughts on police reform and public trust | Guest column

By Steven D. Strachan, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs The… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
A legislative session like no other we’ve seen | Roegner

In even numbered years such as 2020, the legislative session is only… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Time to predict November’s election winners | Roegner

A look at statewide offices in Washington.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Let’s clear the air on wildfires, climate change

Agreement and commitment is needed to address the causes of wildfires and climate change.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Republican’s write-in campaign highlights post-primary intrigue | Roegner

Can former Bothell mayor beat two Democrats for lieutenant governor post?

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
What does it mean to violate the Hatch Act? | Roegner

The federal law was established in 1939.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Editorial: State lawmakers shouldn’t wait to start budget work

Making tough choices on cuts and revenue can’t wait until next year and hopes for better news.

Rico Thomas, left, has been a clerk in the Fuel Center/Mini Mart at Safeway in Federal Way for the past 5 years. Kyong Barry, right, has been with Albertsons for 18 years and is a front end supervisor in Auburn. Both are active members of UFCW 21. Courtesy photos
Grocery store workers deserve respect and hazard pay | Guest column

As grocery store workers in King County, we experience the hard, cold… Continue reading

Face masks save lives and jobs across Washington
Face masks save lives and jobs across Washington

Wearing a mask saves lives and saves jobs. And all across the… Continue reading