South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Take a few extra steps to help reduce trash during holidays


December 14, 2004

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and the New Year than during any other time of the year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons.

There are simple steps to take to reduce the amount of waste generated during this holiday season.

When gift giving, purchase gift certificates, donate to a charity, or give a “family gift” in lieu of individual gifts. Other gift ideas include: compost bins, plants, gardening tools and books, a membership to a local environmental organization, battery chargers, homemade crafts, or transit passes.

Before making a purchase consider the following questions: How will this item and its packaging affect the environment? Can I buy it used? Borrow it? Rent it? Share the purchase?

When wrapping or packaging gifts, try these ideas: newspaper cartons, posters, grocery bags, scarves, cloth napkins, unbuttered popcorn, newspaper, or clothes. When buying wrapping paper look for recycled content paper (the higher the post-consumer recycled content, the better).

When sending holiday cards try email cards or send a reusable “pass along” card by writing a message on an insert instead of on the card.

And after the holidays are over reduce the amount of waste generated by:

• Planting or donating live trees and recycled cut trees

• Donating unwanted gifts and food to thrift stores and food banks

• Composting veggie and fruit trimmings

• Recycling all the holiday leftovers: packaging, wrapping paper, bottles, cans, etc.


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