Zero Waste Humboldt’s holiday waste reduction tips

Zero Waste Humboldt

HUMBOLDT – A recent Stanford study reported that Americans produce 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Years than any other time of year. These Zero Waste Humboldt tips will dramatically reduce the waste you generate during the holidays:

1. Plan ahead. Advance planning can help you reduce food and packaging waste. Your awareness of the seasonal increase in the waste you generate starts the logical steps to reduce waste.

2. The easiest way to reduce food waste is to not buy too much in the first place. Check out several excellent on-line sources for caterers in estimating food and meal portions. If you host a potluck, give your guests pointers to reduce food and packaging waste. 

3. Ask an experienced caterer for advice on estimating food quantities host a large holiday meal. Their livelihood depends on minimizing food waste. Plan to provide containers to give away leftovers for your guests. Create new dishes with leftovers, and compost the remainder of food scraps for a rich soil amendment in your yard.  

4. Go to or call 445-3166 for the network of Humboldt food pantries for unopened containers of extra nonperishable food and drinks.

5. Prepare to decorate for the holidays with objects found in nature. Wreaths, boughs, leaves, gourds, strings of berries and rosehips, are just a few examples of the greenery that you can return to your yard after the holiday season. The trend is to decorate without plastics.

6. Rather than gifts of chachkies and unneeded doodads, give presents of experiences, opportunities, and useful services. Tickets to concerts, a season of symphony performances, bus, train or plane fares, the big game, local movie theatres; gift certificates for pet care, massages, manicures, boat rides on Humboldt Bay, dance or art classes, landscaping and pruning, housecleaning services, even groceries are truly appreciated. Often you give twice with these types of gifts because you are also supporting local nonprofits, performing arts, and small businesses. 

7. Save the postage and paper, and send distant loved ones an email “card,” video chat or call them on the phone.

8. Use maps, colorful magazines, newspapers, brown paper bags, old photos, last year’s wrapping paper, reusable gift bags and cloth to wrap your gifts.


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