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Americans throw away around a million tons of trash every week during the holiday season, including wrapping paper and packaging. We also use a lot of electricity to light up our holiday homes, which is more than other countries use in a year. To help minimize your environmental impact this holiday season, here are a few simple steps that you can take.

Reuse Your Wrapping Paper

Removing non-recyclable decorations and wrapping materials is the biggest issue during the holiday season. Overusing these materials can lead to throwing them out after the gifts have been opened. If each family in the US only used three reusable items this year, it would save about 45,000 football fields of paper.

Reduce Packaging

If you’re sending something to a relative far away, you should consider choosing the appropriate packaging. Ensure the box is big enough to hold the item, and avoid using plastic insulation. If you can, try using eco-friendly packaging such as shredded paper.

Shop for Households

Another way to reduce the amount of waste during the holiday season is to buy for everyone in the household instead of purchasing for only individuals. Check if there is something that the household needs, such as a new kitchen appliance.

Recycle Lights

Each Christmas tree in the US has around 300 lights, and with approximately 30 million trees sold each season, that’s a lot of lights. Unfortunately, these lights often end up in the trash once they get tangled or burned out. Despite this, it’s still possible to recycle Christmas lights.

Use Leftovers

The amount of food waste that accumulates during the holiday season is shocking. Before planning your holiday feast, remember whom you’re serving and how you cook it. If you have leftover food, send it to the other visiting people so they can eat it later.

Tree Recycling

Removing your tree is one of the final steps in the holiday season’s eco-friendly activities. Numerous drop-off locations allow people to dispose of their trees for free. Some areas use Christmas trees as a habitat for fish. You can also hang your tree for a couple of months to allow it to dry thoroughly.