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Reduce waste this holiday season without sacrificing the holiday cheer

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Holiday Waste Reduction-Chicago, IL- Tri-State Disposal

Between decorating, getting together with family and friends, feasting, and celebrating the holidays can create its fair share of baggage – trash baggage. Did you know that American household waste increases by more than 25 percent which equates to 25 million tons of garbage between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day? Each year, Americans discard an estimated 38,000 miles of ribbon. That’s enough ribbon to wrap around the planet (with some left for a bow!)! Tri-State Disposal suggests new ways to celebrate the season that will help reduce your holiday waste and create space in our landfills.

Keep it simple.

For larger gatherings choose recyclable or compostable service items. All food-soiled paper products are commercially compostable unless they are plastic- or foil-coated. Wash and reuse plastic cutlery. If you are hosting a smaller gathering use cloth napkins and tablecloths.

Recycle your Christmas tree.

There are many simple ways to recycle your Christmas tree, the key is to find the method that works best for you. Here are some ideas:

  • Add your tree to your compost pile – if you have one.
  • Donate your tree to your community to be mulched and used for water conservation and weed control.
  • Dry out your tree and chop it into small pieces to use as mulch around your outdoor landscape.

Tri-State Disposal collects Christmas trees with residential waste collection and will dispose of them for you throughout the month of January. 

Cook and bake at home. 
Cooking at home as opposed to ordering takeout or buying pre-prepared food can help save takeout packaging. Plan your menu and prepare the right portions of food not just to avoid food waste, but to save money. If you have a lot of leftover food consider donating it to a local food rescue organization or food pantry.

Batteries not included?
If your gift requires batteries, buy rechargeable batteries. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries. That’s about 180,000 tons of batteries. More than 86,000 tons are single-use alkaline batteries while about 14,000 tons are rechargeable batteries. 

Rechargeable batteries can be used up to about 1000 times before they reach the end of their lifecycle. It is important not to place rechargeable batteries in curbside recycling carts when disposing of them. They need to be recycled at a drop-off location in your area.


Save and recycle gift wrap. 

When wrapping and unwrapping your gifts, keep in mind that gift bags, ribbons, bows, and wrapping paper can be saved and used again next year. You can also opt for a more durable material that you can use again like a cloth bag. 


Make your own gift wrap and gift tags.
Give your kid’s artwork new meaning by using it to wrap gifts. You can also use old maps, comics, newsprint, posters as gift wrap. Reusable gift bags also make a good, durable wrapping paper alternative. Each year, an estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold in the US, or enough to fill a football field 10 stories high. Instead of a traditional card, consider an e-card. Turn last year’s holiday cards into gift tags. For an eye-catching gift tag, cut off the front of the holiday cards you have received in the past, and write the recipient’s name on the blank side.

Change the way you pack your purchases. When shopping for holiday food, decorations, and gifts, use reusable shopping bags. These can be stronger than traditional single-use bags, protecting your purchases and reducing the amount of paper and plastic distributed by vendors and thrown into your trash bin.

If you need help managing your extra holiday waste, Tri-State Disposal offers waste disposal and dumpster rental services. Contact us for a quote. 

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