Tips for cutting down on holiday waste

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 6:10 AM CST
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - From food to wrapping paper to boxes, waste can pile up during the holidays, but you can help reduce the impact on our landfills.

Brown County Resource Recovery shared these tips for cutting down on food waste:

  • When compiling your recipes for your holiday meals, take note of how many guests you will have in order to buy proportions that fit the number of guests. There are great online tools to help you plan things out, such as Save the Food’s Guest-imator. By preparing the right amount of food that will be eaten, you can easily reduce how much food ends up in the trash. Better yet, another way to plan ahead is to focus on the meals and treats that your guests will actually eat. Is your Uncle Joe the only one who eats the pea salad? Leave it off the menu or make only a small amount; enough just for him.
  • Don’t throw out those fruit and veggie scraps. They make great ingredients for stock or broth. Vegetable scraps provide nutrition and great flavor and when making homemade stock, soups and sauces. Fruit scraps can be used in many different ways as well, going into jams and even household cleaners. When you can’t find a suitable way to reuse your food scraps, go for composting instead. Build your compost pile up during the winter and have plenty of nutrient-rich soil ready for spring planting.
  • Holiday meals are even better the next day. Sandwiches, casseroles, soups and salads can all be made from leftovers. Encourage your guests to bring reusable containers to take their leftovers home with them or have reusable containers available. To help you guests enjoy their leftovers even more, provide recipe cards that include the ingredients from the food they will take home. An extra special gift from you to your loved ones.

When it comes to wrapping paper, regular and glossy papers are recyclable. Remove bows, ribbon and tape. Experts recommend doing a “scrunch test” on the paper. If you can scrunch it together into a ball and it stays that way, then it can be recycled. Metallic, foil and glitter paper should not go into the recycling bin.

Consider reusing items for next year. Brown County Resource Recovery says tissue paper, boxes and bags can often be reused.

Do not put Christmas lights into recycling.

Not sure what can be recycled? CLICK HERE for a guide.

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