5 simple tips to lighten our environmental footprint this holiday season

(BPT) – Holiday celebrating results in a lot of waste. Our nation generates an extra 1 million tons of waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the EPA. But taking a few simple steps, such as recycling and seeking products made with recycled materials, can help lighten our environmental footprint this holiday season.

Whether shopping or hosting parties or giving gifts, here are five simple tips from Plastics Make It Possible to help you do your part.

1. Close the loop. Looking for eco-friendly gift ideas? Seek out fun and useful items made with recycled plastics. For example, it’s easier than ever to find kitchenware, such as cutting boards, mixing bowls and food storage containers made with plastics recycled from milk jugs, yogurt containers, bottle caps and more. If you know a foodie who’s passionate about the environment, these recycled kitchen tools can make great holiday gifts. From fleece jackets to children’s and pet toys, products made with recycled plastics can help keep valuable materials out of landfills.

2. Have you noticed all those lightweight resealable food pouches in the grocery store? These flexible packages are made with very little material — usually plastics and sometimes other lightweight materials — so they create very little waste. You can also zip them up after opening to store your extras. So look for food sold in resealable pouches, and keep food fresher longer by squeezing out the air as you reseal.

3. Love your leftovers. Letting tasty leftovers go to waste is no way to celebrate. You can help reduce food waste during the holidays by promptly transferring food to airtight plastic storage bags and containers. Reducing the air that comes into contact with food is key, so be sure to squeeze excess air out of bags and use appropriately sized containers. And remember to freeze or refrigerate leftovers quickly.

4. Recycle while you celebrate. Recycling is one way to cut back on waste, but it isn’t always easy during a party. A simple solution? Set up a designated recycling bin labeled with all the recyclables you can collect, and ask your guests to pitch in! This simple step can benefit the environment — and make party cleanup a lot easier.

5. Resolve to recycle bags/wraps. Whether you shop for gifts online or at stores this holiday season, chances are you’ll accumulate plastic bags, wraps, shipping pillows and bubble wrap. This plastic film packaging can be recycled at 18,000 grocery and retail stores across the U.S. You also can recycle plastic bags used for groceries, dry-cleaning, bread, produce and food storage, plus plastic wraps from products such as beverage cases, napkins and more. Look for the storefront collection bins and drop off your clean and dry bags and wraps.

For more information on reducing our environmental footprint, visit plasticsmakeitpossible.com.

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