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Your Guide to Planning a Green Holiday Party

A green holiday party doesn’t make you a Grinch, but here’s what to know and do to spruce up your sustainable festive entertaining.

  • Decorating? Check out our Green Holiday Decorating Tips & Tricks that won’t get your tinsel in a tangle
  • Exchanging Gifts? Get Your Guide to Green Holiday Gifting
  • Avoid single-use items. Instead of plastic, paper, and Styrofoam plates and cutlery, opt instead for durable items you can reuse over and over. Don’t hesitate to mix and match your table settings to set a holiday table that pops. It’s OK if settings don’t match. Color is part of the magic of the season.
  • Use cloth napkins. Fabric napkins not only look better, they’re also washable, reusable, and can be matched to your tablescape’s theme.
  • Bring the outdoors inside. Embrace nature by using fresh greens, berries and pinecones, all items that are compostable and not wasted.
  • Reuse cut greenery. You can use boughs from fresh-cut trees to create wreaths, mantle displays, or centerpieces. Whatever you do, these aren’t trash. They’re compostable.
  • Use upcycled decorations – You can even craft these yourself (or with you kids!). Ornaments and decorations can be made from strips of newspapers, magazines, fabric, greenery, and more.
  • Avoid food waste. Consider purchasing pre-cut produce or asking that produce be sliced while you’re at the store. There, they can cut produce down to specific sizes for you, ensuring you avoid overbuying and wasting excess.
  • Rethink leftovers. Who wants to cook after a holiday party or get together? Leftovers can be a lifesaver during the holidays. Ever had mashed potato waffles with gravy? We have it on good authority that they’re delicious.
  • Set out your recycling bin during parties. Don’t forget to make it easy for guests to recycle. Simply place your recycling bin next to the trash can. Before placing your items in the recycling cart, make sure that recyclables are clean and dry — so make sure that eggnog carton is empty.
  • Check your recycling day. Your local, friendly recycling center staff are also celebrating the holidays. The season may alter the days your city picks up your recycling cart. Check your local recycling program’s website to be certain you’re putting your cart out on the right day.

According to Stanford University, the U.S. wastes 25% more between Thanksgiving and New year’s day, more than any other time of year. That extra waste will translate to 25 million tons of garbage. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Taking the time to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink – it can be your gift to the planet this holiday season.

For more tricks, tips, and resources to help you recycle more, better this holiday season and all year long, visit recyclingpartnership.org.