A zero-waste holiday!? Yup!

Okay, zero-waste is really, really challenging (at first) so let’s take this one step at a time.

According to GreenAmerica.org, “Americans will spend a total of $586.1 billion dollars in November and December — and an average of $646 per person on gifts alone. The impact on people and planet of all our consumption is staggering. Pledge to shift 20% or more of your holiday spending away from cookie-cutter consumerism and one-use waste—instead supporting local, green, handmade and homegrown businesses!”

There are a lot of really great ways to reduce waste this holiday season. One way is to think about gift giving and all the potential waste involved. Here’s an example from my own holiday story:

My family celebrates Christmas. So we do the traditional gift giving for everyone in the family and special friends. Each year, there seems to be more and more folks for which I need a gift. It’s really hard to keep up! I should put thought and care into the gifts, right? Right. Another important point to make: On January 1st of this year, I pledged with my friends to Buy Nothing New for 1 Year. That includes things for others. So…

…this year I am making my gifts. A great way to reduce waste, indeed, since nearly nothing will have enormous amounts of packaging and nearly everything is coming second-hand or as a found object (except the cheese kit). I am making re-usable produce bags out of old, mismatched pillow cases for the families; washcloth puppets for bath time with the little kids in the family; I’ll be sewing a pair of Minecraft Sweeper Fingerless Gloves for my lil’ gamer nephew tonight; I scored a huge bag of colorful needlework thread at a rummage sale which will go to the eldest niece (she loves to make friendship bracelets and this stuff is perfect for it!); and the ladies will all get a lovely sugar-body scrub (Peppermint for some and Vanilla-Honey for others).

But for me, the men are the harder ones to cover…so, the gift of experience comes into play here. Except for Dad; for him, I’m making him a belt pouch to hold necessities while he works his farmer’s market stands (shallow front shirt pockets are no place for phones or spectacles when you’re in a hurry serving up fine cheese!). For one, I got a pair of movie tickets and a free night of babysitting for date night with the lovely Misses. And the last one is getting a cheese-making kit made with compostable packaging.

“Americans generate an additional five million tons of waste during the holidays. Of that, four million tons come from shopping bags and wrapping paper alone.

Everyone will receive their gifts wrapped in the funny pages or some cool, old map. Old sewing patterns make great wrapping, too! Plenty of resources to think outside the shirt-box for your wrapping needs here! And, of course, the cards will be handmade, too. But that’s really easy! Hard cardstock + fun magazine images + glue stick = viola! Custom cards for each of your loved ones.

What are your plans? Need some crafty ideas? Check out this page- I was so overwhelmed (in a good way) with all the possibilities! Especially the Childhood page. Very cool ideas!

What other ways can we eliminate waste during the holidays (and beyond, of course)? Consider what will be on the dinner table, where you’ll be traveling or who will be traveling to you. I’m sure you can think of several ways to shed a few pounds of waste. Let’s hear about it!

Happy Waste-less Holidays!

America Recycles Day! No Excuses.

10/15 is the Annual America Recycles Day celebration. It should be everyday, but some corporations are sponsoring the idea that one day should be special throughout the year. In honor of that Mother Nature Network is chiming in. I really like their sources and sites, so I taking the opportunity to share with you. Here is a great list from the Mother Nature Network about 10 kitchen related things you have no excuse NOT to recycle. Check it out and remember – everyday should be America Recycles Day. Below is their Top 10 List. Follow the link to learn WHY & HOW.

  1. Glass bottles.
  2. Aluminum and steel cans.
  3. #1 & #2 plastic containers.
  4. Plastic grocery bags.
  5. Cereal and other food boxes.
  6. Cereal box liners.
  7. Bread ends. (My personal favorite- some pretty fabulous reuse options for this item…of course, I just prefer to eat them).
  8. Aluminum foil.
  9. Kitchen electronics.
  10. Old appliances.

Do you have other ways you recycle? Or are there items missing from this list that you’d like to add? Post a comment and let us know how you are sending less to the landfill.

And don’t forget to find out HOW & WHAT you can recycle at Moraine Valley: http://www.morainevalley.edu/sustainability/recycle.htm

E-Waste Recycling in OAK LAWN!!

Oak Lawn E-Waste Facility Grand Opening

The Village of Oak Lawn, to further our commitment to making our Village GREENER, is now operating a permanent Electronic Recycling collection program for our community. All residents are welcome to participate by recycling old, broken and no longer wanted or needed electronics.

The collection site is located at the Village of Oak Lawn Public Works Garage located at 5532 W. 98th Street.
Description:
Electronic-Waste Recycling Facility Grand Opening
Saturday, October 9, 2010.

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, 2 PM to 4 PM
The 2nd Saturday of each month, 10 AM to 12 PM.

Visit our website for items accepted and drop-off instruction.

Location: 5532 98th Street, Oak Lawn, IL 60453
URL: http://www.oaklawn-il.gov/Left-Menu/Green-Team.aspx
Date: Saturday, October 9, 2010
Time: 10:00am-12:00pm CDT