You Can Help Reduce Litter from Holiday Celebrations This Year

Christmas wrapping paper and opened presents

You may not realize it, but your holiday celebration this year might be creating more litter than you think. The good news is there are many ways you can reduce litter this holiday season. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the amount of trash produced in the United States increases by an estimated 25%—that’s about one million extra tons of garbage each week! That’s a whole lot of ribbons, paper, bows and cardboard. 

So much of that waste ends up in landfills and has the potential to add chemical pollutants to the air while it decomposes, according to the National Environmental Education Foundation.  

But don’t let these statistics ruin your holiday spirit!

Here are three areas Tennesseans can focus on to help reduce litter from their holiday celebrations.

1. Stash Your Trash

All that paper has the potential to blow away on garbage day, so make sure to properly bag your trash before you put it out on the curb this holiday season.   Secure loose wrapping paper, paper plates and envelopes so the trash goes where it’s supposed to – the garbage truck!

2. Recycle That Wrapping

Gift bags and bows can be re-used.  Christmas cards can be turned into gift tags for next year.  Cardboard boxes can be broken down for recycling or used for household or craft projects. The less trash you generate, the less chance it will end up on Tennessee roadways

3. Choose to Reuse

Get creative and use unconventional ways to wrap gifts using fabric or colorful magazine and newspaper pages instead of wrapping paper.  Make your celebration pop by using washable dinnerware instead of disposable plates and utensils.  Use reusable containers for leftovers. 

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. Let’s all do everything we can to help reduce our holiday waste in Tennessee!

For more ideas, check out the Williamson County Recycling Guide.

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