Rethink Waste Over the Holidays

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It is estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, more than 1 million tons of additional waste is generated EACH WEEK nationwide. And that doesn’t even take into account all the waste and resources used upstream and around the world to create all the new stuff people buy this time of year.

The good news is that if we pay a little more attention, we can reduce this number. Below are a few tips for you as you plan your holidays.


  • Use pine boughs and clove covered oranges rather than single-use disposables.
  • Use LED light bulb strings to reduce energy costs.

Gift Giving

  • Consider a gift of experience instead of more stuff: concert tickets, a coupon for a hike, a trip to the Bend Rock Gym, a museum membership, or a community-supported agriculture share?
  • Get creative with your wrapping paper: use the funnies, an old Mt. Bachelor ski trails map, or a pillowcase with a reusable ribbon!
  • When purchasing material gifts, consider buying things with little to no or reusable packaging.
  • Consider making a donation to your favorite charity or non-profit in name of your gift recipient.
  • Buy local: Check out Locavore’s Holiday Gift Faire or Craft-O at the Work House!

Food Waste:

  • 40% of the food that is grown to be eaten in the US ends up in the landfill. Be thoughtful with what you purchase: make a plan and stick to it!
  • Encourage your holiday party guests to bring containers for leftovers. Or if you cooked too much for your small gathering, put the food in containers and deliver to your friends! Porch food swap?
  • Compost all wasted food in your yard debris bin!

Post-Holiday Clean-Up:

  • Don’t trash your holiday tree: either pay the Boy Scouts to pick it up, cut it up and put it in your yard debris bin, or take it to Deschutes Recycling at Knott Landfill. #Compost!
  • Do you have strings of holiday lights that no longer work? Don’t trash them – recycle them at Deschutes Recycling at Knott Landfill.
  • Know what is recyclable in Deschutes County and have a recycling station set up at your gift exchange.
    • Reuse: fabric ribbons, gift bags, wrapping paper
    • Recycle: wrapping paper (except foil), paperboard packaging, cardboard boxes, paper holiday cards, ripped and unusable gift bags
    • Trash: tissue paper, foil wrapping paper, plastic ribbon, plastic packaging, photo printed holiday cards