As happy as the holidays are, they have unacknowledged consequences on the environment. According to Stanford, Americans produce 25% more waste during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, compared to the rest of the year. Which is an additional 7 million pounds.

As we approach the holiday season, you can be mindful of your environmental practices. Here are a few that will help keep Missouri clean: 

Wrapping Gifts 

Most wrapping paper, tissue paper and gift bags are thrown away after a single use. If it’s usable, reuse it! Another good option is buying wrapping paper made from recycled materials that you can recycle again. Even better, use newspaper, magazines or other paper products like maps or comics that you have in your home already. You could also repurpose baskets, tins or boxes. This could put a unique and sustainable twist on your wrapping skills.

The Gift 

Think to yourself: Could this end up in a landfill by next year’s holiday season? If the answer’s yes, you may want to rethink the gift. You can look out for products that are biodegradable or recyclable. Consider gifts directly relating to helping the environment, like a refillable water bottle or a canvas tote bag. Homemade gifts like baked cookies or ornaments are also more environmentally responsible and can be more personal than a bought gift. One great option is to give them an experience versus a physical object, like tickets to see their favorite band in concert or a football game — something to make memories with. A gym membership or a streaming subscription are other examples of this too. 

The Tree

If you normally get a Christmas tree during the holiday season, this one’s for you. The only way you can go wrong is by throwing away your Christmas tree whether it’s fake or cut at a Christmas tree farm. If you already have a fake tree, make sure to take care of it and store it in a dry temperature controlled location when it is not in use. However, having a real tree is the more environmentally friendly approach, especially if you purchase one with a rootball intact that can be planted outside after the season is over. If you cannot replant it, then compost it instead of sending it to the landfill. You can compost/recycle your Christmas tree at an industrial composting facility and at some municipal parks.

The Celebration

Encourage recycling at your holiday party. Instead of using disposable plates and silverware, have your guests use dishes that can be washed and reused again. Also, buy food from local farmers who care about the environment.

Missouri Coalition for the Environment works hard year-round to keep our environment clean from littering and pollution. In honor of the giving season, you can consider making a donation by visiting here.