What would you buy with $567?

You might spend it on a new wardrobe, a weekend getaway, or put it in savings, but you probably wouldn’t throw it in the garbage. However, most Americans are doing just that, throwing away $567 worth of edible food every year, which is equal to 100 pounds of food per person.

The holidays are a major contributor to food waste, with additional waste coming from holiday cards, gift wrap, ribbons, packaging, and Christmas trees. Americans throw away 25% more trash from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, which is equal to 25 million tons of garbage!

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Here are seven savvy tips to be more sustainable this holiday season!

  1. Reduce food waste by taking home leftovers that can be eaten over the next week. Still too much food? Check out this guide to freezing food and you will have holiday food year round! Save vegetable scraps and turkey or chicken bones to make soup stock.
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  2. Send eCards instead of print cards, they are cheaper and better for the environment! Plus, you can send them all out from home and save yourself a trip to the post office.
  3. Take reusable bags when you go shopping. Keep a couple bags in the trunk of your car for when you’re out shopping at the grocery store, the mall, or the farmers market.
  4. wreath-gift-wrap-ideaSwap out wrapping paper for earth-friendly packaging. Try wrapping gifts in scarves, old posters or maps, reusable bags, or wrapping paper made from recycled paper. Or put a gift inside a gift, like a cute decorative box or a flower pot. Decorate gifts with dried flowers and natural evergreens instead of bows and ribbons- you can save them for future decorations or compost them when you’re done. Create a treasure hunt and hide unwrapped gifts around the house!
    • Did you know that if every family used just two feet of ribbon over the holidays, there would be enough ribbon to tie a bow around the entire planet??
  5. Give the gift of an experience instead of packaged gifts wrapped up in bags and bows. Some fun ideas are: tickets to a concert or comedy show, a candlelit dinner, reservations at a spa, a monthly membership to their favorite gym, or handmade coupons that offer your time, such as “one dinner on me”, “30 minute massage”, “chores takeover for one day”, or “coffee date”. Create a new tradition this year that focuses on experiential gifts instead of material gifts.
  6. Over 40% of all battery sales occur over the holidays, so invest a little more in buying reusable batteries! Better for the environment and better for you, too!
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  7. 33 million live Christmas trees are cut down and sold for the holidays in America. This year, try purchasing a potted tree and keep it alive all year in your backyard! This will save you from having to buy trees in the future and will save the lives of many trees. If you decide to go with a traditional tree, make sure you remove all decorations and you arrange to have your tree composted. Another option, invest in a good artificial tree!

And last but not least, make a commitment to sustainability. Be aware of the effects of excess waste on our environment, which ultimately effects our health and that of future generations. We only have one body and one Earth, let’s keep it healthy!

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