8 Ways to Reduce Waste at Your Holiday Party

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Have a Bash Without the Trash

party recycling
Creative Commons License photo credit: thn26987

We tend to create a lot more trash during the holidays than throughout the rest of the year. With all of the holiday parties and entertaining coming up, it’s good to take a step back and think about ways to reduce waste while you’re celebrating. While you’re planning your festivities, here are some helpful tips to save money, time, energy, and work towards zero waste.

Use cloth napkins and reusable dishes, glasses, and silverware.
This advice is simple but true, and something a lot of people already do. Time to break out those gilded holiday-themed plates! Try borrowing or even renting them along with an extra table from a party store if you need to. The point is to avoid disposable paper and plastic materials. No need to buy something new if you can rent it! If you do need to use some paper plates sparingly, choose the option with the highest recycled content possible. Or, check out cool compostable silverware such as SpudWare, which is made from potato starch.

Buy secondhand items.
This is another easy one! If you just don’t have enough stuff, at least buy it used. You can find some real gems at thrift stores for much less money than regular retail price, from pretty nice to endearingly tacky- while you’re at it, pick up a few festive ugly sweaters for a party! And think how easy it will be for your party guests to tell their glasses apart when each glass is unique and different from the others.

Reuse decorations and favors next year.
Sort everything out and make sure nothing gets thrown out in the trash that can be used again.

Choose items that you can easily recycle.
When it comes to beverage containers, for example, aluminum cans are a good choice because the packaging is lighter, more compact and more easily recycled than glass or plastic.

Buy rechargeable batteries.
According to the EPA, about 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Besides in electronics and other gifts, how else does your motion-detecting, animatronic Santa shake its booty? Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, can save money over time, and are super easy to recycle at Call2Recycle.

Green Batteries is dedicated to responsible energy use and can teach you everything you need to know about rechargeable batteries. Plus, find a huge selection of chargers, adapters and batteries!

Compost leftover food scraps.
Green waste makes up a large percent of residential waste, sometimes almost half! It’s likely that the fees paid to haul solid waste are less than they are for green waste, so you can actually save money for your city. A quick breakdown (so to speak) on composting: Waste to landfill: organic waste breaks down without oxygen and produces methane, a greenhouse gas.
Waste composted: organic waste breaks down aerobically, and no methane is produced.

Turn off or unplug holiday lights during the day.
Besides that, use LED lights because they use about 80% less electricity than standard mini-lights energy and last 10x longer. LED stands for light-emitting diodes, and these lights are mercury-free.

Reduce waste during cleanup too..
If every American household reduced their water use by 10 gallons on just Thanksgiving Day, it would save more than 1 billion gallons of water! Holiday meals and parties can use much more water than everyday use. Running your tap continuously while rinsing off vegetables or washing dishes can waste water- more than two gallons of water every minute your tap is running. Try these handy tips to reduce your water and energy use:

  • Scrape dirty dishes clean, instead of using water to rinse them before you put them in the dishwasher.
  • If you don’t use a dishwasher, fill the sink with a few gallons of soapy wash water, clean your dishes, and put them aside. Then rinse them all together afterward.

Everything mentioned above will help make the holidays a littler greener and help you reduce, reuse and recycle your way into the New Year!

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