Although Christmas is a wonderful time of the year it is also a time when people generate tons of waste. While reducing, reusing, and recycling should be practiced year-round, it is even more important during the holidays when our waste is plenteous.
We at DHEC urge you to put these 12 recycling and waste reduction tips to use this holiday season:
1. Keep a waste-free kitchen: Before going shopping, look around to determine what you already have on hand and make a list of things you need before heading to the store. Compost or donate your unwanted food and recycle your cooking oil. Find other helpful tips at www.scdhec.gov/dont-waste-food-sc.
2. Have hard-to-recycle items? Consider only buying materials packaged in what can be recycled in your area. Find where and what you can recycle at www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Recycling.
3. Give waste-less gifts like your time to clean someone’s house, piano or guitar lessons, gym memberships or certificates for pampering.
4. Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled, BUT you can reuse something to wrap with instead, such as paper bags, newspaper, maps or use reusable grocery bags, scarves or flower pots. Also reuse greeting cards to make gift tags.
5. Stop the unwanted mail! Check out ecocycle.org/junkmail for six easy steps. Make sure to recycle mail with your paper as well.
6. Prevent food waste this holiday by providing reusable containers or asking your guests to bring their own for leftovers.
7. Use LED lights, which last 10 times longer and use 80 percent less energy. Recycle your old strings of lights. Find more information on hard-to-recycle items at www.scdhec.gov/recycling-waste-reduction/recycling-hard-manage-items.
8. Go with an eco-deco theme by decorating with natural materials like greenery, gourds, fresh fruit and pine cones — all which can be composted after the holidays.
9. Set up a collection corner at your party by providing an area where guests can bring unwanted items to swap or donate.
10. Always let your guests know what can be recycled and composted. Clearly mark your bins and let guests know where they’re located.
11. Provide a green dining experience by using dishes and silverware instead of disposables.
12. Grind those greens. If you decorated a real tree and are ready for it to go, remember to find out where your county will be accepting them for grinding.
Visit the DHEC website for more tips and information on recycling and waste reduction.