JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) leaders estimate that the amount of household trash increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

MDEQ leaders encourage neighbors to reduce waste during the holidays with these tips:

Gift Wrapping and Shopping:

  • Take re-usable canvas tote bags shopping and avoid using plastic bags – particularly for just one item.
  • Consider re-using wrapping or other reusable paper when wrapping Christmas gifts. If every American family wrapped just three presents in re-used materials that would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
  • Have children make their own wrapping paper by designing and coloring brown paper grocery bags, using old homework pages, old Christmas Cards or hand drawn pictures. Grandparents will appreciate the special touch of a grandchild to any gift. 
  • Consider using commonly discarded paper items for wrapping gifts—Sunday comics, old posters, maps, discarded sheet music and wallpaper scraps for wrapping paper. 
  • Use and re-use gift bags instead of wrapping paper.
  • Avoid using metallic gift-wrapping paper because this paper is generally not recyclable.  
  • Give gifts in canvas re-usable shopping tote bags rather than gift bags.
  • Choose products that use less packaging material.
  • Look for products with the EPA’s Energy Star logo. These items have been evaluated and rated for their energy efficiency. 

Gift Ideas:

  • Give gifts that will be consumed or used such as home-baked cookies, bread or jams or a plant or tree that can be planted in the recipient’s yard.
  • Consider gifts that keep on giving such as a compost bin, rain barrel, battery charger, rechargeable batteries, LED light bulbs, a perpetual calendar or an erasable message board.
  • Give two gifts in one by using baskets, scarves, or pillowcases to wrap gifts.
  • Give gifts that don’t create wastes such as passes to a zoo or an amusement park, music lessons, tennis, golf, or other sports lessons, memberships to an organization, tickets to a concert or movie, dinner at a restaurant, a subscription to an online magazine or newspaper or an IOU to help rake leaves or repair a leaky faucet. 
  • Give gifts that get “used up” such as candles, soap or seeds for the garden.
  • Give durable toys for gifts that are made from wood or metal so that they can be passed down, even becoming collectible items.
  • If purchasing electronic items such as a computer, television, cell phone or gaming station, find a retailer that will take back and recycle the outdated or obsolete item being replaced.
  • Recycle obsolete electronic devices through local community recycling programs or donate computers or televisions that have useful life to community groups, local schools or nonprofit organizations.

After the Holidays:

  • Clean out the closets and donate used toys, clothing and household items to charitable organizations.
  • Save wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons to re-use the next holiday season. Recycle as much of the leftover wrapping paper, gift boxes, bags and gift packaging materials as possible.
  • Make a New Year’s resolution to start a recycling program at home or at work. Contact local officials about recycling opportunities.
  • Contact catalogs and other similar mail order circulars about removal from their mailing lists. Most of these catalogs and retail items can be found and ordered from the retailers’ websites.