City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability shares tips to have an eco-friendly holiday

Tis the season – to be eco-friendly! The next few weeks will be full of friends, family, events – and a lot of STUFF. Take care, Asheville, to follow some of these tips to reduce landfill waste and keep Asheville green!

Food and food waste – Many of our holiday celebrations are centered around food.  Cooking, sharing meals, gifting sweets and serving up old family recipes are part of what makes holidays special.  All that cooking and eating can sometimes lead to additional food waste!  Check out these resources to plan carefully and creatively reimagine your menus and meals to incorporate leftovers and prevent food waste! 

Paper recycling – Did you know that wrapping paper is recyclable?  IT IS! You can put that gift wrap in your blue bin alongside your gift boxes and other holiday recyclables. Other items to recycle include: gift boxes, cardboard, paper gift bags (remove the strings), holiday cards and envelopes, catalogs, newspapers and junk mail.

Cloth bags as a substitute for wrapping paper – Make them yourself or support a local crafter! Sew cloth bags out of holiday print fabric of various sizes with a drawstring closure to wrap your presents in. Save the bags and reuse every year. Not only does this eliminate single use wrapping paper but also makes wrapping presents and post present cleanup a breeze! Pro tip: use a different holiday fabric for all those in your family. Trust us, those bags will be coveted and it is easier to remember whose they are if they have their own unique pattern! 

Gift of experiences – Asheville is chock full of wonderful businesses offering services and immersive experiences that are perfect gifts for your loved ones (or you!).  By gifting experiences you can reduce your waste, support local service providers, and pamper yourself with tasty food, walking nature, history, and comedy tours, massage and spa treatments, and so much more!  Give the gift of a good time this holiday season. 

Gift of consumable items – Consider dried spice mix from that pandemic herb or pepper garden, homemade cookies or breads. Reuse leftover takeout containers for packaging.  

Lights on a timer – Whether it be for lights on your Christmas tree in the living room or outdoor lights on the house, a timer is inexpensive, easy to install and saves you money on your electric bill! Best of all it saves energy and cuts down on light pollution. 

Eat local, shop local – Consider gift cards to local businesses and locally owned restaurants. The community will thank you!

Wrap it all up in an eco-bow – After you celebrate in style please keep your trees and natural wreaths out of our landfill! City sanitation will collect trees and natural wreaths along with regular curbside brush collection (take off those lights, stands and shiny ornaments!).

The holidays are a festive and fun time of the year. Use these tips to make your season green and eco-friendly!