Follow these tips to reduce waste this holiday season.

During the holidays, we are often encouraged to consume more than we need, whether it’s food, toys, gadgets or gear. Here are some ways to help our community reach our zero waste goals while celebrating the holidays.

In the United States, about 40% of all food goes to waste, and the holidays are some of the biggest food waste days of the year.

Reduce food waste

Fortunately, there are many ways that you can limit the amount of food wasted. Many families will avoid gathering this year due to COVID-19. This is a good time to consider ways to reduce food waste from your holiday meal. Here are some tips to make your meal more sustainable:

  1. Use online meal planning calculators to determine how much food to buy for your household.
  2. Compost your scraps, including meat and dairy, in your curbside compost bin.
  3. Consider preparing dishes from local produce, making use of what's in season locally.
  4. If you need disposable plates and utensils, consider choosing BPI certified compostable ones.

Get creative with gift giving

What and how often we buy things has a large climate impact. Embodied emissions are the greenhouse gas emissions that are produced when products are made and shipped somewhere. The city’s Circular Economy report shows that embodied emissions in Boulder are larger than the total of all of Boulder’s other local emissions put together (electricity, transportation and natural gas).

As we head into the holidays, remember that a small reduction in the volume of new products we purchase can have a big impact. Consider options like these:

  • Buy second-hand goods
  • Give your family gift certificates to local restaurants or retailers
  • Make cards out of old calendars
  • Wrap your gifts in fabric bags to reduce waste

Find more ideas from Eco-cycle’s list of gifts that are easy on the planet.

Dispose of holiday decorations the right way

From broken holiday lights to Christmas trees, the Eco-Cycle Holiday Guide can help you find the best place to dispose of holiday leftovers — or better yet, fun ways to repurpose them and give them new life.