Eco Holiday Habits to Get on Santa's Nice List

During the holidays many of us gather to share special meals, exchange gifts, and enjoy ourselves. As you prepare to host gatherings for your loved ones, consider how your celebrations create waste that contributes to climate change and adds to the growing amount of plastic in landfills. Are you being naughty or nice to the planet?

Here are three ways to get on the planet’s Nice List this holiday season

Naughty food waste; nice compost

Naughty: Throwing Food in the Trash
Nice: Lowering Food Waste with Meal Plans and Composting

Meal Plan for Zero Food Waste

Many of us consider lavish spreads of favorite holiday dishes the hallmark of a caring host. But excess food gives off high amounts of the potent greenhouse gas methane once it’s dumped in a landfill. This is a major cause of climate change.

Rethink your hosting ideals, brand your gathering eco-friendly, then don’t overbuy or overcook.

Use the food GUEST-IMATOR tool to plan how much to prepare. If there are leftovers you know you won’t finish, send food home with your guests in reusable containers.

Clean your plate or compost the rest.

Try composting your food waste. If your curbside organics collection doesn’t accept food, ask local community gardens if you can contribute to their compost bin.

Consider setting up your own home compost. It can help grow healthier, heartier plants. Winter is the ideal time to start compost that will be ready to add to your garden in the spring.

Easy tips for starting to compost

naughty: single use disposable plastic. Nice: reusable dishes.

Naughty: Single-Use Plastic
Nice: Reusable Dishes and Utensils

“Disposable” Plastic Lasts Forever

Many hosts choose the ease of disposable plates, cutlery, and cups for holiday gatherings. But that plastic your guests use for just a few minutes will never biodegrade. It stays on the planet, slowly breaking down into toxic microplastics.

About 10 percent of all trash is plastic. Forty million Californians create more than 3.2 million tons of plastic waste every year.

Reusable plates and cutlery give the gift of a cleaner planet. Less trash in landfills is worth a few extra minutes of cleanup.

Naughty: dirty recyclables; nice: clean recyclables

Naughty: Dirty Recyclables
Nice: Clean Recyclables 

Rinse Containers Before Recycling

Recyclables tainted with food or water can leak onto surrounding paper and cardboard, and create a contaminated, unrecyclable mess. In 2018 China stopped accepting certain US mixed recyclable shipments because many arrived full of mold and had to be thrown away in landfills.

Clean your containers to keep recycling from becoming garbage. 

Not sure about that greasy pizza box? Tear off the oily parts and toss those in the trash. The remaining clean cardboard can go in your blue bin.

Check out this quick video on recycling contamination.

With a few small changes, you can make a difference for the planet even as you enjoy this festive season. Get more eco-friendly holiday hints to use this year.

 

— Syd Fong
Posted on Dec 23, 2019

Summary: During the holidays many of us gather to share special meals, exchange gifts, and enjoy ourselves. As you prepare to host gatherings for your loved ones, consider how your celebrations create waste that contributes to climate change and adds to the growing amount of plastic in landfills. Are you being naughty or nice to the planet?