The “most wonderful time of the year” is also the most wasteful. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates Americans generate 25-million extra tons of waste between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. Indiana Recycling Coalition spokeswoman Carrie Hamilton encourages Hoosiers to consider reusing and recycling year round. She says doing so is one of the easiest ways to reduce our carbon footprint and conserve energy. Gift wrapping is a major contributor to holiday waste. Hamilton recommends reusing last year’s gift bags and repurposing newspaper, magazines or coloring book pages. She notes cloth napkins work well to cover small gifts.
Holiday entertaining can be equally wasteful. Hamilton urges hosts and hostesses not to use disposable plates, cups and cutlery and to be mindful of how much food they really need to fix. She says it’s easy to buy and fix too much when planning for a large group and recommends putting thought into what food items are actually needed.
Hamilton says obsolete technology can also be recycled once it’s replaced by new gifts. She notes old electronics contain toxic materials but adds they are more difficult to recycle than in the past. That’s because the end markets for the basic commodities of electronics have become fewer and farther between. She says recycling centers may charge a nominal fee to take a large, older-model television set but says it’s important to dispose of it properly.