Explore Eco-Cycle’s 2023 Holiday Resources

The holidays are called the “most wonderful time of the year”—but not when they create unnecessary waste! 

In the US, we create 25% more trash during the holidays!

Challenge holiday waste head-on with our advice for the “Best” and “Good” ways to wrap gifts, as well as the “Worst” options to avoid, in our annual Holiday Guide (available in English and Spanish!).

Check out Eco-Cycle’s NEW Holiday Guide for 2023 in English and learn everything you need to know to pull off a Zero Waste holiday season! ¡Y en español, para hispanohablantes: Cero Desperdicios Guía para las festividades!

The Best Ways to Enjoy a Zero Waste Holiday

Don’t miss our favorite festive tips for making sure your holiday cards and gift wrap are recyclable/reusable, ideas for hosting a Zero Waste holiday gathering, how to stop holiday-related junk mail, and more!

Zero Waste Gift Wrapping

Most wrapping paper has more clay content than paper fiber, making it difficult to recycle. Instead, choose to wrap gifts with reusable fabric, paper gift bags (reusable and recyclable), or recyclable comics, posters, maps, or calendars. If you are shipping gifts, replace foam or bubble wrap with balled-up, recyclable paper. Learn more about shipping in our Packaging & Mailers guidelines!

Don’t Give “Stuff”

Instead of buying new products for your loved ones, give the gift of an experience (such as a membership or tickets to an event), make a donation to a nonprofit in their name, or gift a subscription to an online course. Something edible like a dessert or snack packaged in a reusable jar also makes a great gift! Finally, consider gifting products that will help reduce waste, such as reusable water bottles, mugs, straws, and to-go containers.

Send Cards That Are Recyclable and Contain Recycled Content

Plain paper cards are recyclable, and cards made with recycled content support recycling systems! Avoid cards printed on photo paper and cards embossed with foil, glitter, plastic, or ribbons—they cannot be recycled.

Make Holiday Gatherings Zero Waste

Instead of disposable tableware, serve food on reusable dishware. Borrow dish sets and glassware from friends or go thrift store shopping for a special holiday set! Decorate the table with foraged greenery, gourds and squash, bowls full of apples, or other seasonal fruits and veggies.

Prevent Food Waste

In the US, up to 40% of food is thrown out, wasting all the water and energy used to grow and transport that food. You can significantly reduce your household’s food waste by planning your meals, buying the right quantity, and storing produce properly to keep it fresh! Save bones, carrot peels, celery tops, and potato peels to boil and create your own vegetable stock. Add overripe fruits and veggies to smoothies, or bake fruit into cobblers and veggies into casseroles. Or, freeze fruits and veggies to preserve them for weeks (or months)!

Stop Holiday Junk Mail

The holidays can bring catalogs and other mail urging you to buy, buy, buy. But you can prevent it! As soon as you receive an unwanted publication, call the 1-800 number and ask to be removed from their list, or follow our steps to stop junk mail!