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December 2016

Tips to reduce holiday waste

REStore, Rethink Recycling, and Big Green Purse logosGift giving and get-togethers during the holidays can contribute more than merriment - they can result in a staggering amount of household waste.

In the U.S. alone, household waste increases by more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. According to Use Less Stuff that translates to more than one million extra tons of food waste, shopping bags packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons.

Several organizations have compiled practical tips for "reducing and reusing" during the holidays. Among them are The RE Store, "Rethink Recycling," and Big Green Purse.

The RE Store, for example, suggests wrapping gifts in old maps, Sunday comics or posters, and shopping at local businesses or markets. This Bellingham-based organization is known for its reclaimed building materials, vintage d├ęcor, building salvage services, and DIY inspiration. Its website urges citizens to "don't buy, DIY," and invites visitors to "steal these ideas for cheap and quick gifts."

"Rethink Recycling," the go-to guide for waste and recycling in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, has a comprehensive list for greening every aspect of the holiday season from earth-friendly gift wrapping alternatives to "10 simple ways to go green at a house party" list.

Big Green Purse teamed with GD Environmental to list "15 best ways to reduce holiday waste." The tips are organized into three categories: paper and plastic, electronics, and food. "You should be able to do every one of them!" suggests Diane MacEachern, award-winning entrepreneur and best-selling author , whose works also include green shopping principles, the Big Green Purse book, product reviews, and a green Amazon storefront.