From using our fabric scraps to make new clothes and sustainable face masks, to offering reusable shippers made from recycled billboards and selling vintage clothing, you could say we're big fans of making use of leftovers. And for us, the holidays are no exception. So if you're doing your best to make it an eco-friendly holiday, don't stop when the party's over. Here are our favorite tips for reusing all of your holiday leftovers.
- Your tree - First, check to see if your local waste management recycles Christmas trees into wood chips (a great option). If not, try chopping it up to use as firewood or mulch. You can even cut the branches into small pieces to use as compost. Live near a lake or pond? Wash your tree off first (get all glitter, plastic, hooks, and ornaments off of it) and toss the tree into the lake – seriously. The tree is a natural incubator for algae, provides new nesting grounds, and helps the ecosystem as a whole. Yay for science.
- Wrapping paper - Unless it's plain old brown paper, most wrapping paper isn't recyclable (bummer). Use leftover wrapping paper to wrap fragile things like ornaments and glassware to keep them safe until next year. If you're feeling especially crafty, use wrapping paper to line bookshelves, drawers, or decorate for your next party (check out this list of other ideas and uses for wrapping paper). And because we always say any gift wrap is reusable gift wrap with the right amount of planning, save what you still have left so you're ready to wrap next year's gifts. We see you, low-waste lifestyle.
- Delivery boxes - Instead of clogging up the recycling plant, stick in your yard + cover with mulch to prevent weeds in the spring. You can also flatten them out to save for next year, share with a friend who's moving, or get really creative and build a slide.
- Food scraps - We could go on forever when it comes to our favorite food waste tips, and pretty much all food scraps have the potential for reuse. Toss bones and veggie peels into a pot for broth or soup. Take almost anything, mix it with eggs, throw it in a pie crust and you have a quiche. Stale bread = croutons, wilted greens = pesto, veggies on their last legs = pickle 'em up. Save The Food is one of our favorite places to get inspired.
- Opened wine - Now's the time to try out all those fancy recipes you've been eyeing that call for a cup of wine – piccata, coq au vin, braised short ribs, scallops... cooking with leftovers doesn't sound half bad...
- Glass bottles - Glass bottles make excellent DIY candles. Sound like a head start on next year's gifts? We think so.
- Polybags - While we haven't been able to ditch the polybags that hold our clothes once and for all (yet), there are plenty of ways to reuse them. Check it out.
Because waste is so early 2000s. Here's to another year of reducing and reusing together. Cheers!