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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Holiday Tips
Trim the Trimmings!

"The ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! The tinsel! The trimmings! And the trappings!"

The Grinch was right about one thing – we do create a lot of trash during the holidays. Actually, we generate 25percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Years. This year, why not reduce the amount of trash your family generates, and recycle or reuse holiday items, such as gift boxes, ribbons and holiday cards. Make a commitment this year; give a present to the environment – something in Green!

Holiday P2 Tips Gift Buying

  • Purchase rolls of 36 exposures film instead of 12 exposures. You’ll reduce waste by 67% and save 40% of the cost – about $4.00.Go digital. Use a digital camera to record your holiday memories and print only those photographs you really want to save.
  • Make gifts. A home-cooked meal or baked goodies is often appreciated.
  • Consider non-material gifts. Tickets to a sporting event, movie, play, or concert are a real treat. A night of free babysitting for family and friends.
  • Make a charitable donation in someone’s name. Try to find an organization that complements the gift receiver’s interest, for example for a dog lover, give to the local animal shelter.
  • Give a roll of postage stamps, especially appreciated by home bound or extended care residents.
  • Give practical gifts such as low flow showerheads, florescent light bulbs or reusable shopping bags.

Holiday Cards

Over 2.65 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the US The amount of cards could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

  • Send e-greetings to family, friends and business associates who are on-line.
  • Collect your child’s artwork through out the year and use as a holiday card.
  • Buy recycled-content cards and envelopes.
  • Make gift tags from last year’s holiday cards or use small pieces of extra wrapping paper.
  • Send old cards to: St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, 100 St. Jude’s Street, Boulder City, NV 89005-1615.

Gift Wrapping

During the holiday season alone, the average household generates three to ten bags of extra trash.

  • Design your own gift-wrap by using paper grocery bags and add decorations such as drawings, stamped patterns, cut pictures from magazines, or last year’s holiday cards.
  • Get out the finger paints, markers, and crayons and let your children design their own wrapping paper.
  • Purchase gift bags, especially non-holiday bags that can be used later in the year.
  • Hide large or hard to wrap gifts somewhere in the house or yard. Create a scavenger hunt to lead them to the present.
  • Use decorated boxes, add a bow and gift tab, and then reuse the boxes and bows next year.
  • Set aside a box to collect the ribbons, bows and other package decorations.
  • Wrap gifts in a gift. Use dishcloths or bandanas, holiday tins, and jewelry boxes.

Reuse is Best

If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.

  • Save boxes, bows and ribbons and use them again.
  • Save packing "peanuts" or bring them to a mailing company such as Mail Box Etc.
  • Use newspaper as packing, and then recycle the paper.
  • Buy an artificial tree.
  • Save cards to be used next year as gift tags.

Recycle Those Trees

Approximately 37 million families celebrate the holidays with a real Christmas tree every year. Locate a Christmas Tree Recycler near you Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.

Recycle Your Boxes and Wrapping Paper

  • Once the gifts have been opened, be sure to recycle all of your gift-wrapping paper and boxes. Many communities offer wrapping paper and package recycling options. Contact your local recycling center for more information or look in the back of the Yellow Pages for additional local options. Boxes and paper represent a large and yet recyclable portion of your holiday waste stream.
  • Set a box or bag aside to collect the wrappings and packaging. These recyclables can then be taken to the recycling center or curb.

Holiday Links



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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2014. State of New Hampshire