Reducing Waste During the Holidays

It’s beginning to (finally) feel and look like the holiday season here in SoCal! With all of the gifts you’ve been giving and receiving recently, you might be looking around at all your wrapping paper, decorations, and food and wondering, “isn’t this wasteful?”

Fortunately, we have discovered some creative ways to go green (without turning into a grinch) this gift-giving season!

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle Wrapping

Does anyone else’s mother have an entire closet dedicated to old gift bags? Turns out mother knows best! You can reuse gift bags, boxes, and even wrapping paper for an easy, free, and environmentally friendly choice.

Looking for something a bit more creative? Use scarves and dishtowels as wrapping! They can be found at your local thrift store or in your own closet, and they even double as an extra gift. Grab some recycled ribbon to tie it in place and voila!

Perhaps our favorite way to wrap a gift is going the handmade route. Choose recycled newspaper or brown paper bag to wrap your gifts. To add a personal touch, you can even add your own illustrations to the wrapping with markers, paint (avoid using acrylic paints or anything that might have plastic and prevent the paper from being recycled), or extra stickers. Top them off with a twine bow and a sprig of rosemary or a candy cane for a beautiful gift!

Deck the Halls with Recyclables

Decorating for any holiday doesn’t have to be wasteful. Go for decor that will last years like solar powered lights, trees in a planter that you can rent, and reusable menorahs. Another option we love is visiting the local thrift shop – one man’s dancing Santa is another man’s eco-friendly treasure!

Give Gifts that Don’t Require Wrapping

A great go-to gift is donating to a nonprofit that lives on throughout the year, like a Tree Dedication from TreePeople. Tree Dedications help offset your carbon footprint and protect SoCal from extreme heat and pollution for years to come.

Other gift ideas that are sure to impress (sans wrapping): concert tickets, an art or cooking class, a massage, a thoughtful picnic on the beach, a homemade meal.

Give back to the Community

Host a community swap in January after the holidays to purge of old items that have been replaced and of gifts you won’t be using. Have you ever felt overwhelmed with your leftover food after throwing a party?  Problem solved: visit 211 LA for a list of your nearest shelters and hunger assistance agencies where you can drop off food items. Share leftovers with neighbors and friends in your community to spread the love.

Looking for more ways to give back? Visit TreePeople’s Get Involved page to start making Southern California an even greener place to live.