Each year, Americans throw away 25 percent
more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That's an extra one million
tons per week!
Follow these great tips to cut the waste - but not the holiday spirit!
Give great gifts with less waste
As the holidays approach, consider a
creative, low-stress and waste-free approach
to gift giving.
Give the gift of experience
- Plan a day trip to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge or bike the Yelm-Tenino or Chehalis-Western trail. Pack a picnic lunch to add to the fun.
- Take a walk on the wild side. Visit the rescued animals at Wolf Haven in Tenino or head to Northwest Trek, Olympic Game Farm, or Point Defi ance Zoo & Aquarium.
- Spend an evening at the theater. Harlequin Productions and the Washington Center for Performing Arts in Downtown Olympia are just two local opportunities to watch live performances.
- Give tickets to a sporting event
or treat someone to a day at a
- Buy lessons for a new sport
or hobby like rock climbing,
kayaking, or painting.
Donate to a worthy cause
- Donate locally to an organization
such as the Thurston County Food
- Help a family in need by donating to an
international relief organization. For example,
Heifer International uses your donation to
purchase a farm animal, seeds, or clean
water for people in developing countries.
- “Adopt” an endangered animal from an
organization like The World Wildlife Fund.
The symbolic adoption helps support the
effort to protect wild animals and habitat.
- Put homemade cookies and treats in reusable
tins or plates. Bake a cake or pie and include
the pan as a gift.
- Create a cookbook with favorite recipes.
Prepare a sampling of treats to go along with
- Make soaps, candles, framed photos,
ornaments, or other crafts.
- Give coupons for a service
you can do, such as a home
repair or washing a car.
Choose recycled or reusable gifts
- Re-gift something
meaningful that you no
longer use, such as a
- Shop at thrift stores or
estate sales for that hidden
treasure of jewelry, books, or
dress-up clothes for kids.
- Give a travel mug, durable water
bottle, new lunchbox, or cloth
produce and sandwich bags.
If you do plan to buy new gifts . . .
- Choose items with recycled content
and less packaging.
- Pick durable, well-made items
that won’t be headed for the
landfi ll in a month’s time.
- Choose items that get used up
or eaten, such as specialty foods or
artisan candles and soaps.
- Give practical items, such as seeds for a
gardener or fabric and thread for the sewing
Visit the City of Olympia's website to create your own personalized gift certificates!
Find creative ways to wrap gifts
- Place gifts inside reusable containers like cookie tins, flower pots, or
- Use old maps to wrap packages.
- Give a “treasure map” to find an unwrapped gift hidden elsewhere
in the house.
- Wrap gifts in your children’s or your own artwork.
- Look through old magazines, catalogs and calendars to use
- Wrap gifts in cloth napkins or kitchen towels.
- Use re-useable or re-used gift bags.
- Replace ribbons and bows with evergreens, berries, dried
flowers. Keep them as decorations or compost them after the gifts
Plan a waste-free party
- Use washable dishes, glassware and napkins rather than
disposable plates, cups and napkins.
- Offer small initial servings and plenty of seconds or thirds.
- Turn down the heat before guests arrive - the extra people
provide plenty of warmth.
- Send leftovers home with your guests in re-usable containers.
- For seldom-worn fancy party clothes, consider renting or looking
in consignment shops.
Call (360) 867-2491 or e-mail