By Ellen Edwards, Chair of the Bronxville Green Committee
Dec. 11, 2019: According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Americans generate 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than during any other time of the year. Here are some ways you can throw away less.
First, give experiences rather than objects as gifts: People love to receive gifts of weekend getaways, fun classes (the Bronxville Adult School and the New York Botanical Garden offer terrific classes), visits to friends and family, an afternoon at a museum, or an evening at the theater. In Bronxville and the surrounding metro area, the possibilities are practically endless.
Second, give a gift that lasts a long time, and allows you to avoid single-use plastic. These might include a reusable mug or water bottle, a reusable “to go” container for eating out (preferably in glass or stainless steel), cloth bags for produce in the grocery store, and shopping bags, which will come in handy once the state-wide single-use plastic bag ban goes into effect on March 1st.
Third, consider focusing this holiday on giving back to the community by donating your time or funds to a local non-profit. By contributing to a Mount Vernon or Yonkers soup kitchen, for example, you’ll help to ensure that your neighbors get a warm meal and place to sit during these dark, cold days. Bronxville residents tend to be a very generous group. The challenge for you might lie in giving fewer objects as gifts and replacing them with donations. If you’re able to push past the initial resistance, might this be a step toward endowing the season with special meaning for your family, and making it even more memorable?
Fourth, encourage your family to get outdoors and enjoy nature by purchasing a 2020 Empire Pass. For $80, you receive a wallet-size pass that gives your entire family access to and parking in our great New York state’s vast network of parks for a full year. For details, click here. Or consider an America the Beautiful Pass, which gives you access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites, including national parks and national wildlife refuges. For details, click here.
Fifth, save the paper and the ribbon: If tearing off the gift wrap is half the fun for you, by all means, indulge. But for those who like to draw out the suspense, why not carefully save the paper for another gift? And the ribbon can often be rolled up and saved. Despite what you may read on some websites, according to Melissa Rotini, a director with the county’s Department of Environmental Facilities, neither ribbon nor wrapping paper can be recycled. Some alternatives: reusable gift bags, plain brown paper, which is recyclable, or even place gifts in reusable canvas bags. You can also purchase wrapping paper made from recycled paper, which has less environmental impact. By being mindful of what you throw away, and making a few new choices, you can help keep your trash to a minimum during the holidays.
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.