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

Christmas presents

STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – The holidays are here, which means that many families will be shopping for that perfect gift.

While you’re wrapping those presents, officials at Oklahoma State University are encouraging Oklahomans to be conscious about the waste they create with all those gifts.

“When planning gifts and menus this time of year, think about the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle,” Keima Borsuah, Oklahoma State University Extension assistant state specialist with the Solid Waste Management Program, said. “Of course, people enjoy giving and receiving gifts, but choose items of value, purpose and meaning. These gifts will be less likely to end up in a yard sale or even the trash.”

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

In order to cut down on the waste, Borsuah suggests giving experiences like museums or tickets to something.

“Often during this time of year we want to give things, 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 give a homemade gift certificate for shoveling snow this winter, planting flowers in the spring, mowing the lawn in the summer or raking leaves next fall.”

Other ways to cut down on holiday waste include:

  • Shop local to reduce cardboard waste. This not only eliminates the need for a box in which the gift is shipped, 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, newspaper or old posters as gift wrap.
  • Reuse ribbons, bows and gift bags.
  • Skip the wrapping altogether. 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’s or grandchild’s savings or educational account, or donate in a family member’s name to their favorite charity.

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

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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