Why we care
For most Americans, gift giving is an integral part of the holidays. But all that gift giving creates a lot of waste. Americans throw away 25% more trash than usual between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and half of all the paper America consumes is used to wrap and decorate consumer products. Excess packaging, wrapping paper, and even unwanted gifts can all end up in the landfill; yet 70% of Americans say they would welcome less emphasis on gift giving and spending.
Simple, positive change
- Minimize store-bought gifts by drawing names, making your own gifts, or giving services. See www.newdream.org/holiday.
- Choose classic products that will last over time. Avoid plastic and battery operated toys. Stay away from foil wrapping paper and foil-lined envelopes that cannot be recycled.
- Use decorative, reusable bags or the Sunday comics and colorful yarn for wrapping gifts.
- When placing a catalog order, tell the company you want no more than one catalog a year and ask that it not share your name with other retailers.
- For entertaining, use washable dinnerware instead of disposables. If you don't have enough, borrow or rent.
Reuse and recycle:
- After opening gifts, flatten wrapping paper, roll ribbons onto toilet paper rolls, and store for later use.
- Recycle your Christmas tree (call Metro, 503-234-3000, for instructions).
- Take packaging peanuts and bubble wrap to a mail service shop, non-curbside plastic and styrofoam to Far West Fibers. Block styrofoam can also be recycled at Total Reclaim or Recology (Pacific Land Clearing).