December 20th, 2013
One of the greatest challenges to living green this time of the year is the annual holiday clean up. (Ribbons and wrappings and boxes, oh my!) Lucky for our Pacific family, we have a robust recycling program. Employees can bring their old electronics, rigid plastics, film, foams and other hard to recycle items to work. Our recycling team works to sort and send the items to the right places.
Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t have easy access to facilities like this. So, we had our sustainability team weigh in and they came up with some pretty great tips.
Plan ahead for the easiest clean up. Avoid buying items that have hard, rigid plastic or blister packs. Aim for sustainable items that have low impacts and long lifetimes. Batteries are notoriously difficult to recycle, so consider buying rechargeable batteries with battery chargers to accompany electronic gifts. Did you know about 40% of battery sales happen during the holiday season?
Making your holiday productions easier. Wrap with recyclable/recycled wrapping paper, fabrics or reusable containers. Purchase your foods from sustainable and local sources and avoid disposable dinnerware and silverware.
Aim for zero waste. See how far you can get with your recycling bins before your bring out the black trash bags. Be sure to donate any old toys, books, electronics or other goods rather than tossing them. It’s also important to dispose of your Christmas tree properly through curbside yard debris, or local recycling programs. In our area, the boy scouts usually have a recycling program for trees, so that may be a good place to start if you don’t have curbside yard debris pick-up. Many schools even offer recycling of used tree lights that have lost their luster.
Don’t forget the basics. In this busy season, don’t forget there are everyday helpful tips to live more sustainably. Reuse or repurpose your gift bags or shopping bags. Turn off lights when no one is around to enjoy them. Try to use every last scrap from your feast. Bones, bread and other foods can all have second lives in the kitchen. If you’re able to, compost anything you can’t use in your yard recycling.
Our team also found a few resources that will help you with your tough-to-recycle items like Styrofoam, batteries, CDs and packing peanuts. Here are our top picks:
What’s the biggest sustainability challenge for your holidays? Maybe we’ve got a solution we can share. There’s no reason we can’t work make the season greener, as well as brighter.