Holiday Waste Reduction

More Joy, Less Waste

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American household waste increases more than 23% during the holiday season – but we can change that. Check out our tips for reducing waste this holiday season:

Ready to commit to reducing your waste this holiday season?

Take our Holiday Pledge

Reducing Food Waste

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Many resources go into creating disposable tableware that’s only used once. Skip the paper plates, plastic utensils and napkins by opting for reusable dinnerware. Planning meals for large groups can be difficult and costly. Use this Guestimator tool to avoid too much food waste. Don’t let those delicious holiday meal leftovers go bad by reading up on proper and preferred food storage tips.  

Denver Composts accepts food, leftovers, bones, dairy, vegetable scraps, paper napkins and paper towels, keeping these items out of the landfill and turning them into a useful soil amendment known as compost. If you don't receive service from the city, there's still ways to compost such as backyard composting or service from a private hauler. Take a few minutes to learn more about composting services

Ready to commit to reducing your waste this holiday season?

Take our Holiday Pledge

Decorating with Nature

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Skip plastic bows and ribbons on your gifts and choose natural decorations like small leaves and pinecones. Save fabric ribbons or twine to use again. It’s tempting to buy new holiday decorations, but beautiful holiday décor can be found right outside. Try branches, leaves and twigs to add some cheer. Some tree lots even save trimmed branches and will let you take them for free. Trimmings can be used in all sorts of ways, including wrapping them around a metal hanger or wire to make a wreath.

The type of paper a holiday card is printed on will determine if you can recycle it. For example, cards on photography paper or embellished with things like foil, glitter, or bows should not go in your recycle cart, while cards printed on plain paper can. You can make your own holiday cards with reused and recyclable paper products. Eliminate the recycling guess work for your loved ones and reduce waste entirely with an e-card.

Ready to commit to reducing your waste this holiday season?

Take our Holiday Pledge

Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

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When you stock up on holiday baking ingredients,  buy them in glass rather than plastic.  For example, look for vanilla, marshmallow fluff, vegetable oil, dairy products, and sprinkles in glass bottles and jars.  The glass bottle and jars you recycle will be turned into new bottles right here in Colorado.

Follow our Zero Waste Grocery checklist for purchasing your holiday food staples in bulk or without packaging. If that’s not possible, look for packaging that can be recycled, such as cartons, steel cans and empty aluminum pie tins. Familiarize yourself with Denver’s or your private recycling hauler's guidelines prior to shopping to know what can be put in your recycle  cart.  As always, remember to bring your own reusable bags when you go shopping to reduce waste and avoid Denver’s 10-cent fee on disposable bags.

Ready to commit to reducing your waste this holiday season?

Take our Holiday Pledge

Unique, Sustainable Gifts

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Look for gifts you can buy locally, are gently used, have minimal packaging and are made to last. Better yet, give the gift of a local experience like event tickets, a class or membership. Check out our Certifiably Green Denver businesses to support local AND sustainable.   

Fabrics are a great way to wrap, and re-wrap, presents each year. Pick up some fabric at your favorite thrift store or estate sale, wrap your gifts, save the fabric for next year and ditch wrapping paper for good. For ideas on how to wrap using fabrics, check out the Japanese art of furoshiki, which uses a few simple folds and a knot. Save paper bags to use as gift wrap.

Add a personal touch with a hand-made design or drawing and recycle the paper bags later. Save newspapers, old maps, calendars and magazine pages for gift wrap with some character and recycle afterwards.

Ready to commit to reducing your waste this holiday season?

Take our Holiday Pledge

Stopping Junk Mail

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Catalogs and unsolicited mail really start to add up during the holidays.  Prevent this waste in the future by calling the 1-800 number listed on catalogs and ask to be removed from their mailing list.

Learn how to stop junk mail before it starts

With the holidays, it's important to remember what can and can't be recycled. You can learn more about what things are recyclable and non-recyclable on the Denver's Recycle page.

Bring unwanted holiday lights to the Cherry Creek Recycle Drop Off as part of Recycle Your Holiday Lights, and participate in Treecycle after the holidays!

Ready to commit to reducing your waste this holiday season?

Take our Holiday Pledge