Let’s make sustainability part of the holiday season!

Thanksgiving is over, and now is a great time to start thinking about how to minimize our impact on the environment during the holidays! This time of year, we try to remember to reduce the amount of waste we generate and re-use materials whenever possible in addition to recycling. Here are a few tips for all three of the R’s!

If you’re looking to reduce the overall waste generated by the holidays, check out this great blog post from WastelessThinking. Some of these suggestions technically fall into the “Re-use” and “Recycle” categories, but we think sending e-cards and giving experiences instead of things as gifts are two fantastic ideas! Selecting decorations and gift wrap that you and your loved ones can re-use is another great way to keep holiday waste from the landfill.

If the idea of a fake tree turns you into a grinch, you can still recycle your real Christmas tree as well as wreaths and garlands thanks to Agricenter International! City of Memphis and Collierville residents can place their greenery curbside for pickup, while those outside of those areas can drop theirs off at any time in the designated area at the ShowPlace Arena lot at 105 S. Germantown Road (exact dates TBA). Your holiday decorations can be turned into mulch for use by the city! Our friends over at the Compost Fairy will also be holding tree dropoff events in January, so be sure to check their Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.

Finally, if you are planning to wrap gifts, choose wrapping paper that can be recycled. Keep in mind that any shiny or glittery wrapping paper can’t be recycled and must go into the trash. We like this handy guide from RecycleNow, which includes a helpful video explaining the “scrunch test.”

Bonus tip: Shop locally for your loved ones this holiday season! Fossil fuels and additional packaging needed to ship items over long distances can substantially increase the carbon footprint of your gifts. Instead, find truly unique gifts created by local makers and artisans at one of the many Memphis holiday markets. We also love the Memphis Flyer’s Gift Memphis holiday shopping guide!

Note: This guide was originally published in November 2018 and updated in December 2019.