University Sustainability

Defining Sustainability since 1899
Happy Holidays! We wish you a stocking full of sunshine!

Holiday Waste Reduction & Green Gifting Tips

Tips for a Greener Holiday

  • Americans send almost 2 billion holiday cards in the mail. Consider e-cards or online greetings. And don’t throw away the beautiful cards you receive - upcycle them into gift tags, ornaments, or other art!
  • When buying gifts, think local. By purchasing something where you live, like a handmade piece of art or a knitted sweater, you’re supporting folks in your community, and also reducing transportation-related carbon emissions.
  • Remember to take your reusable shopping bag to the store - you can even wrap gifts in reusable bags that the recipient can use over and over. They’ll think of you year-round!
  • We use 333 million square feet of wrapping paper yearly, and due to that shiny lamination, it’s hard to recycle. Instead, try decorating newspaper or paper bags to wrap your gifts - it’s not only recyclable, but one-of-a-kind as well.
  • Keep your holiday decorating merry and bright, but consume less energy by switching to LED lights. LEDs use less power, are longer-lasting, and more durable than traditional lights. And some are even color-changing!
  • Go zero waste for entertaining - instead of paper plates and plastic utensils that can’t be recycled, use metal flatware and real dishes. On a budget? It’s more eco-friendly to pick up these items at a local thrift or consignment store than purchasing new. And pick up a real tablecloth while you’re at it!
  • Putting up a tree? A potted, local tree is your best bet, followed by a sustainably grown local tree. And don’t forget proper disposal - consider options like chipping up the tree for gardening purposes or creating a brush pile with the tree as the base.
  • Turn down that thermostat at night. When you’re nestled all snug in your bed, there’s no reason to waste energy and money by warming your whole house.
  • Think bigger this year - instead of buying meaningless and wasteful baubles, perhaps make a tradition out of donating to an eco-charity.