These few months of the year are quite exciting, however, they can also be quite wasteful. With excessive feasting, decorating, and gifting, it is no surprise that waste increases by 25% for the average American during the holidays. To avoid adding on the stress of wastefulness this holiday season, here are some tips and ideas on how you can be more sustainable for the most wonderful time of the year!


Wrapping – Unfortunately, wrapping paper is NOT recyclable, so here are other wrapping ideas to spread your holiday cheer without stuffing your dumpster:

  • Use alternative materials – get creative! You can use an old tote bag, make a tote bag out of a t-shirt, or even wrap your gift with a newspaper or a beautiful picture from an old calendar. You can also stuff your tote bag with magazine pages instead of with tissue.
  • Use paper tape if necessary.
  • Making holiday treats? Instead of wrapping food items in plastic wrap, opt for reusable containers! You can get creative and decorate mason jars to place them in, or you can buy reusable holiday tins from the dollar store. Your friends will love the treats and your creativity for the packaging they can reuse over and over again!


Gift Ideas

  • Buy “vintage” items! Vintage is much better accepted than the words “used” or “from a thrift shop”. And don’t forget to refuse plastic bags by bringing your own reusable ones!
  • Splurge on memories, not materials. Buy tickets to the museum, the spa, a movie, gift cards to a restaurant, concert tickets, the possibilities are endless!
  • Want to make someone a gift this year? There are endless ways to create fun and beautiful gifts on a budget. You can find recipes to make lotions, soaps, and scrubs as well as THOUSANDS of DIY gift ideas online.


Decorations – half the fun during the holidays is the decorating!

  • Artificial trees are one option, which can be reused for many years. If you opt for a real tree be sure to recycle it with KTMB!

KTMB’s Christmas Tree Recycling Program runs December 26 to January 7 from 9am to 4:30pm, daily, with drop off locations at Bartley Ranch, Reno Sports Complex and Shadow Mountain Park. A $3 donation is requested to help cover the cost of running the program. Volunteers are also needed! You can learn more by visiting or calling 775-851-5185. 

  • Consider buying a real tree that can be replanted after the holiday season is over. Potted trees that you plan to plant outside should be kept indoors for a maximum of ten days and should be gradually returned to outside temperatures.
  • Opt for “vintage” ornaments or decorations you can make from recycled or natural materials.
  • Keep decor items organic and natural. Things like hemp, burlap, 100% organic cotton, pinecones, tree branches, and gourds are all totally compostable after the holidays are over.
  • Hang fresh mint up for a pseudo “mistletoe” and use the dried mint later for tea.
  • Did your holiday lights burn out? They are NOT recyclable through single-stream recycling and are a health hazard at the EcoCenter Recycling Facility. You can recycle them, however, by taking them to Western Metals Recycling in Sparks! You can call them at 775-358-8880.

Happy Holidays from the Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful family!