Reduce Holiday Waste

Tips from the city’s Division of Waste Management & Recycling

American’s create 25% more trash during Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day according to the National Environmental Education Foundation. This increase in garbage wastes tons of essential environmental resources such as, water, energy, and land that goes into the extraction, processing, and distribution of these excess commodities. Overconsumption threatens our planet with potentially irreversible damage from biodiversity loss, soil degradation, pollution, climate change, and more.

For the holidays consider the environmental costs of what we buy and use, and aim to have a more enjoyable, sustainable, and less wasteful season by following the tips below.

Buy or make meaningful gifts. Don’t buy for the sake of it. If there was no sincere need or desire for an item prior to Black Friday, then a really good sale will not suddenly fulfill a role. Take your time when deciding a gift for your loved ones. The more thought and creativity put into selecting a gift makes it all the more meaningful. Consider these low-waste gift options below for those on your list:

  • Buy a Minnesota state parks permit for the outdoorsy one.
  • Sponsor a meal for the busy friend.
  • Teach a skill over video call (dancing, knitting, etc.) for the bored relative.
  • Compile a cookbook of family recipes for the home chef.
  • Start a favorite book exchange with the avid reader.
  • Pass on your sewing machine or instrument for the novice creator.

Buy for longevity and durability. When you shop, think of it as a long-term commitment and buy products that are made to last a long time. Sometimes these products may cost a little more, but quality items can often be repaired and reduce the frequent rebuying (and associated costs) of items that are not built to last. This prevents fad-shopping that leads to quick-changing attention spans and quick waste generation.