PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The holiday season can usher in family gatherings, end-of-year celebrations and much-needed vacation time. But according to Clark County, the holidays also usher in more waste.
The county reports that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, households discard up to 25% more trash that is ultimately dumped into the landfill.
“Each week up to 250 shipping containers full of garbage are barged up the Columbia River to the landfill,” Clark County said. “The additional holiday waste means even more trash-filled shipping containers are sent to the landfill.”
On a national scale, Stanford Recycling Land, Buildings & Real Estate reports that additional holiday waste adds up to 25 million tons of trash.
Fortunately, Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach has a few strategies for curbing waste this year.
One of them is taking inventory of the ingredients you already have in your pantry and refrigerator before heading to the grocery store for holiday meals. The Guest-imator is a dinner party calculator that helps people determine how much food they need to serve their guests.
Another tip was to use real silverware and plates instead of disposable alternatives, which add to the waste in the landfill. Similarly, giving gifts in reusable bags rather than wrapping paper that typically ends up in the trash is a more sustainable option.
The county also recommends buying intangible presents for loved ones, such as horseback riding lessons, concert tickets or babysitting vouchers.
Other ‘green’ holiday alternatives include recycling old and unused electronics, buying more gifts from second-hand stores and choosing durable gifts that won’t immediately need to be thrown out or replaced.