November 23, 2014

Too much waste during the holidays

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is encouraging folks to make an effort to be more efficient.

Elisabeth Olson, natural resources educator with the DNR, says it’s a great way to be good stewards of the land and to save a few bucks. “The U.S. EPA estimates that our waste increased about 25 percent between the time of Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.” That’s about one million extra tons of waste going to landfills each year nationwide during the holiday season.

Olson says it’s easy to repurpose items, such as gift boxes, bows, and wrapping paper, or use newspapers to wrap gifts. The comics are especially nice. “Perhaps you’re giving a gift to someone that’s a traveler, you can find some old maps that you have  and you wanna wrap them up in the map. Kind of think about things that you have in your house that can be used to do that.”

Decorations are wasting energy, leftover food gets discarded, disposable plates, packaging, and gift wrap gets tossed out. Olson suggests folks wash those dishes, divvy up the leftovers, and replace old holiday lights with today’s more energy-efficient LEDs — and recycle or donate the old ones.

The DNR website offers tips for recycling in every season.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:25