Holiday season

Think outside the box to reduce waste this holiday season, experts say

STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – The holidays have arrived, which means many families will be looking for the perfect gift.

As you wrap these gifts, Oklahoma State University officials are encouraging Oklahomaians to be aware of the waste they create with all these gifts.

“When planning gifts and menus this time of year, consider the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Keima Borsuah, assistant state extension specialist at Oklahoma State University with the solid waste management program. “Of course, people like to give and receive gifts, but choose items of value, purpose, and meaning. These gifts will be less likely to end up in a garage sale or even in the trash.

Between Thanksgiving and mid-January, most households generate about 25% more trash than any other season.

To reduce waste, Borsuah suggests offering experiences like museums or tickets to something.

“A lot of times at this time of year we want to give things away, but something as simple as a gift of your time is priceless,” Borsuah said. “Do an activity that creates a memory, not more waste. Another idea is to offer a homemade gift certificate for shoveling snow this winter, planting flowers in the spring, mowing the lawn in the summer or raking the leaves next fall.

Here are other ways to reduce holiday waste:

  • Buy local to reduce cardboard waste. This not only eliminates the need for a box in which the gift is shipped, but it also saves money on shipping costs.
  • Choose gifts that have been recycled or made from sustainably sourced materials.
  • Consider rechargeable batteries and chargers for electronic gifts.
  • Reuse old maps, comics, newspapers or old posters as gift wrapping.
  • Reuse ribbons, bows and gift bags.
  • Completely forget the packaging. Instead, hide the gift and leave written clues as to where it can be found.
  • When decorating the tree, use energy-efficient LED lights.
  • Start a child or grandchild’s savings or education account, or make a donation in a family member’s name to their favorite charity.

While many residents are good at recycling, experts say people aren’t as good at reducing and reusing.

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