Here’s Recycle Ann Arbor’s guide on reducing your holiday waste

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and also one with the most waste.

While it may be holiday party season, it’s also the season for extra trash. Luckily, Recycle Ann Arbor has put together a guide to help you have a zero waste holiday.

Check out some highlights below.

How to get started:

  • Instead of buying from big box stores, support local crafters or purchase gift cards to Ann Arbor area businesses.
  • Make or buy consumable gifts, or reuse materials you already have to make something by hand (remember it’s not the gift, but the thought that counts!)
  • Purchase experiential gifts, like movie tickets or dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Donate to a cause that your friend or family member supports.
  • Make a list of items that you need and where to buy them (and use lists given to you.)

Worried about waste?

  • Wrap gifts in newspaper, scrap paper or reusable fabrics. Individuals who want some added flair can use cloth ribbons or twine.
  • If you must use paper, buy it from a thrift store or reuse intact previously used wrapping paper. Make sure to recycle any non-metallic paper or any paper gift bags that you can’t use again.
  • Reuse cardboard boxes for storage, crafts or other gifts. Flattened cardboard can be recycled in Ann Arbor but needs to fit inside recycling carts with closed lids.
  • Send electronic holiday cards or upcycle previously used cards. Remember to recycle holiday cards and envelopes.

Hosting? Recycle Ann Arbor has you covered, too:

  • Plan your meals and make a shopping list that you can stick to. Be sure to check your pantry, freezer and refrigerator to avoid buying extras.
  • Whip up creative dishes by using leftovers or turning scraps into broths. Compost foods that have started to spoil.
  • Donate unopened and non-perishable foods to charities, like Food Gatherers.
  • Use reusable napkins, cutlery, cups, plates and bowls to minimize trash and waste.

Tackling the tree:

  • Use timers and LED lights to save energy, and recycle broken string lights at the Recycle Ann Arbor drop-off station.
  • If you need an artificial Christmas tree, pick up a pre-loved one at a local thrift store. If you’re getting rid of one, donate it or dispose of it at the Recycle Ann Arbor drop-off station.
  • Once your live tree gets droopy, leave it at one of four Christmas Tree Drop Off locations around the city. Trees will be turned into compost or mulch, the city said.

See the full list of tips and the Recycle Ann Arbor Holiday Zero Waste Guide here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.