Make your holiday low waste, without skimping on gifts - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Make your holiday low waste, without skimping on gifts

MADISON (WKOW) -- As the holiday shopping season kicks off this week, the City of Madison Streets Department hopes you'll aim for a zero waste holiday.

"The holidays are a time when we generate at least 25% more waste then we do the rest of the year," Madison recycling coordinator George Dreckmann said. "But, it is possible to have a zero waste or at least a low waste holiday season without being a Grinch."

To help you "green" up your holiday, the Streets Department has a website filled with suggestions on how to brighten the holidays while lightening your waste load. The site includes low waste gift ideas, entertainment suggestions, and new decorating tips. You can find the site by clicking here.

Here are some of the suggestions from the department's site:
 - Instead of giving consumer goods, give the gift of an experience by giving tickets to a play, sporting event, or concert. Other alternatives include gift certificates for a massage or meal at a favorite restaurant.
 - Try giving the gift of your time by offering to baby sit, do household chores, organize family photos, or drive friends who do not have a car.

"Two of my favorite gifts are cloth shopping bags and rechargeable batteries," Dreckmann said. "It will help your friends reduce waste all year round."

When it comes to holiday parties, planning for convenience can generate a lot of waste. Each year Madison's refuse jumps over 100 tons after the holidays.

"All those paper plates and plastic cups make for tons of extra waste every December," Dreckmann said. "Using china and silverware reduces waste and adds a touch of class to your holiday entertaining."

"Think about the fact that we have come to believe that the effort needed to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, shape it like a fork, truck it to a store and bring it home is considered less effort than washing the fork when you are done with it," Dreckmann said.

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