Whether you’re looking for more creative and sustainable ways to wrap your gifts this year or you’ve simply ran out of wrapping paper, Ani, I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling Programs Manager, is here with a couple of quick, eco-friendly gift wrap solutions!
Did you know that food waste, shopping bags, wrapping paper, and ribbons all contribute to an additional 1 million tons of waste to our landfills? Here is a quick gift wrapping guide to limit the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills after the holiday season (and beyond):
Start early. I reuse boxes from my online shopping, food packaging, tissue paper, gift bags and bubble wrap year round to avoid having to buy any additional gift wrapping materials; and it saves me some money as well!
Consider wrapping gifts in fabric or newspaper. Unfortunately, festive wrapping paper usually ends up in the recycling bin and is often difficult to reuse. Give the gift of beautiful fabric or simply dig through your recycling bin to find paper to cover a gift. I guarantee your gift will stand out from the rest!
Furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth
Skip the ribbon, skip the bow! These items are difficult to reuse and uncommon to keep. Check out Emily’s gift below!
All in all, try to hold on to gift wrapping items or opt out of using items that are hard to reuse and you’ll be on the path to creating less waste in no time! For recycling options, check out our one-stop database, www.WasteFreeSD.org!
Today’s blog comes from our Marketing Coordinator, Sarah. Like many, Sarah loves celebrating the holidays and decorating her home. One of the most common and beloved symbols of the season are trees and other greenery such as wreaths, but what should we do with them after the beginning of the New Year? Read on to learn more about convenient tree recycling resources near you!
25-30 million holiday trees are sold each year in the United States and unfortunately many of them are sent to our landfills.
However, trees and other yard wastes can be easily made into compost and mulch to improve soil health at residences, public parks and local farms, when recycled properly.
For over 40 years, ILACSD has put together a countywide recycling guide for residents each year that explains how and where you can recycle your tree!
Let us help you find a convenient pick-up or drop-off option! Most waste haulers offer special holiday tree recycling programs to pick up trees with yard waste on regular collection days. In addition to curbside pick-up, tree drop-off sites are located in the communities of:
And several communities in the City of San Diego
Please click here to get answers to your recycling questions! For tree recycling, please search “Holiday tree recycling” to find our resource guide!
A complete list of tree recycling locations is also available at www.WasteFreeSD.org or by calling 1-877-R-1-EARTH.
Today’s festive holiday guide comes from one of ILACSD’s Program Assistants, Emily! She has done a lot of research to bring you the best of eco-friendly holiday ideas, including everything from party planning to gift wrap! But first, let’s start off with a eco-inspired holiday poem!
T’was three weeks before Christmas and all through the scene
People were wond’ring how to make Christmas green.
From Red Solo cups used up at a party
To the tin foil covering fudge for Uncle Marty,
Many holiday items end up in the trash,
Increasing the heap in our landfill stash.
The plastics! The glass! The tinsel! The paper!
Oh, the waste piles higher than a city skyscraper!
As they pondered wrapped gifts topped in bright, shiny bows,
They knew there must be a way to reduce how much is disposed.
When what to their wondering eyes did appear
But a helpful blog post written by eight tiny reindeer…
Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the averageSan Diegan throws away between 3 and 10 extra bags of trash.
Recycle these items: Aluminum pie tins, empty aerosol cans (like whipped cream), wine and cider bottles, cardboard boxes, and paper packaging can all be recycled. For any question on what can be placed in the blue curbside bin, click here.
Recycle all non-metallic wrapping paper and any paper-based ribbon.
Go paperless! Wrap gifts in items like towels, t-shirts, or pillowcases.
Use your child’s grade school artwork to create unique wrapping paper.
Create gift tags from wrapping paper scraps or last year’s greeting cards.
Choose reusables! Encourage friends and families to ditch disposables and choose reusables such as shopping bags, straws, mugs – the ideas are limitless!
Buy nuts, berries, and chocolates in bulk and present them in reused glass jars. Arrange them in a basket, giving two gifts in one. Check out these examples on Pinterest for inspiration!
Non-material gifts are essentially free of packaging and create stronger memories than giving the latest gadget. Consider zoo memberships, hang gliding lessons, a painting class, or gift cards to local camp sites.
One of my favorite gifts I’ve received falls into this category. My friend jokingly lamented that he couldn’t buy me a beluga whale (my favorite animal), so he made a donation in my name to the National Wildlife Foundation toward the cause of the beluga whale. I was impressed with how thoughtful and creative he had been.
Decorating with natural items, such as cranberry and popcorn strings, leaves you the option of composting them post-holidays. Be sure to check out our Pinterest for other decor ideas!
If you know ahead of time who’s coming, print out old photos of each guest and tape them to glasses as “identifiers.” This encourages people to use the same cup throughout the event, and it’s fun to play, “Guess Whose Bad School Portrait That Is.”
…As you head out to shop, to craft and create,
Rejoice in the choices now there on your plate.
Keep the land clean from Del Mar to Borrego
Because no gift is greater than a clean San Diego!
Today’s blog is brought to you by Emily, one of our environmental educators. Emily loves holiday treats (especially her grandma’s jell-o salad), but hates seeing good food go to waste. Keep reading to see how you can reduce the amount of food you throw away.
‘Tis the season for friends, fun, and food. With all the festivities this time of year, it’s easy for us to be up to our eyeballs in pumpkin spice lattes, turkey sandwich leftovers, and sugar cookies from the grandkids. And with food comes food waste. This holiday season, give a gift to the environment by putting your trash can on a diet.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans throw away up to 40% of the food supply each year, valued at almost $390 per consumer in 2008. That means every year we’re throwing away enough food to constitute at least a month’s worth of groceries. Since food has become so convenient and readily available, many people wonder what the big deal is. What’s wrong with this picture? We are wasting resources – land and water to grow the food, money to purchase it, and time and energy to prepare the finished product. After unwanted food enters our trash cans, it makes a long, diesel-powered journey to the landfill (soon to be the landfull), where it rots, releasing harmful greenhouse gases. About 14.5% of our municipal solid waste is food waste. Fortunately, the solution is within our reach.
Now, before you go all Dr. Brown on us, let’s look at some simple steps you can take today.
Serving size – As this World War II poster reminds us, taking more than we can eat is one of the most common reasons we dispose of food. It’s better to return for seconds than to throw usable food away. When eating out, asking for a take-out container (or bring your own) when your food arrives to help remind you to take home the leftovers. As you teach your children, friends, and family to be mindful of the helping they put on their plate, you are instilling healthy habits for them and the earth.
Make a list and check it twice – Despite our best intentions, sometimes our food spoils. Planning ahead before you even get to the grocery store can help prevent that. For example, if you know you want to make a recipe using chicken stock, plan to cook another dish using chicken stock later that same week.
Embrace the ugly – Picking through the produce piles is like a quest for the perfect fruit or vegetable. However, if a potato has an odd knob, or an onion has a conjoined twin, chances are it will taste exactly the same as its normative cousins, especially if you’re chopping it up. Now, we’re not condoning purchasing bruised or unfit for consumption. Rather, you’ll be giving a home to an otherwise discarded piece of perfectly good produce. Besides, it makes for a wonderful game of Rorschach Vegetables.
Love those leftovers – For some, leftovers are the gift that keeps on giving. Others, however, tire of the same meal for weeks. For inspiration on how to jazz up your leftovers, turn to the wonderful world of Pinterest. Maxed out on turkey sandwiches? Freeze your cooked turkey for up to 6 months and keep that tryptophan train runnin’ well into the spring.
Waste Free SD Tip: Choose reusable containers to store your leftovers instead of non-recyclable plastic resealable bags.
Compost – You don’t have to have a lot of space to compost! Contrary to popular belief, apartment dwellers as well as homes with yard space can significantly reduce the amount of food waste that makes it to our landfills and in return, you’ll have a nutrient rich compost for your garden by spring! Click here to learn more and stay tuned for our blog series on composting, coming soon to a computer screen near you.
As with other eco-friendly actions, reducing food waste is all about our choices. Start today with a small commitment to take a step to decrease your food waste. It may take time to build these habits, but when we’re able to stretch the life of our landfill to accommodate our children and grandchildren, it will certainly be worth it.