’Tis the season to go green

Tips for reducing waste, saving money during the holiday season


The holidays are coming up and we all know they can put a dent in your wallet, but have you ever thought that celebrating the holidays can take a toll on the environment? It’s true. From disposable kitchenware to unrecyclable wrapping paper to overheating your home the holidays create a lot waste.

In fact, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the average household in Minnesota increases waste by more than 25 percent. Here are Hennepin County’s top energy and money savers tips to help you go green this holiday season.

1. Buy a set of gently used kitchenware from a thrift or secondhand store. You’ll save money from buying less disposable plates and silverware, and you can use them for several years. Plus, they are sturdy and look great for entertaining.g2g_newspapergiftwrap

2. If you are hosting a holiday celebration, make sure you get a head count for how many guests will be attending. This way you’ll know how much food, beverages and other items to provide to reduce waste at the end of the celebration.

3. A lot of people in your home means it can get hot! Remember to turn your heat down before your guests arrive. You’ll conserve energy, save money on your heating bill and your guests will be more comfortable.

4. Getting tired of spending money on cleaning products to get your home in shape for guests? Consider making your own non-toxic cleaner with water, vinegar, dish soap and lemon juice to refresh your home for the holidays. It’s easy and saves money — plus, the solution is non-toxic for both people and the environment

5.  Skip the mall and shop reused for your holiday gifts. Search your local thrift store for unique finds for your family and friends or make your own handcrafted gifts out of recyclable materials. Check out Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse Directory to find thrift stores near you by visiting www.hennepin.us/choosetoreuse.

6. Use newspaper for gift-wrap instead of buying wrapping paper. Wrapping paper is not recyclable and ends up in a landfill. Family and friends will appreciate your creativity, especially when you tell them you can recycle it!

7. Don’t have recycling bins at your home, or need more for your holiday celebrations? Go to www.hennepin.us/recycling to learn how to rent recycling containers for free or contact your waste hauler to order additional or larger permanent curbside recycling containers. Paper, plastic, organics (such as food scraps), and more are valuable materials — don’t let them go to waste this season.

Don’t forget share your environmentally friendly holiday experiences with family and friends so they can follow your lead to protect the environment. For more information about going green this holiday season, visit www.hennepin.us/environment or email environment@hennepin.us.

This information was provided by Hennepin County Environmental Services Environmental Education & Outreach.