Tips to reduce waste during the holidays

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Americans produce a lot of trash during the holiday season – more than any other time of the year. In fact, we throw away somewhere between 25% and 43% more trash during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  The extra waste – from shopping and packaging, wrapping and gift giving, and holiday meals amounts to an extra 25 million tons of garbage.

And of course the real problem is that our trash pollutes, ending up littering our communities and harming our environment. The good news is that there are plenty of things we can do to reduce waste during the holidays – starting by buying less stuff in the first place.

PIRG and Environment America put together tips for this holiday season – from giving gifts that involve less new stuff, like the gift of an experience or buying used or refurbished, to using reusable gift wrapping to being thoughtful about holidays meals to reduce food waste. 

Learn our tips in our Zero Waste for the Holidays webinar.

Zero Waste for the Holidays


Jenn Engstrom

State Director, CALPIRG

Jenn directs CALPIRG’s advocacy efforts, and is a leading voice in Sacramento and across the state on protecting public health, consumer protections and defending our democracy. Jenn has served on the CALPIRG board for the past two years before stepping into her current role. Most recently, as the deputy national director for the Student PIRGs, she helped run our national effort to mobilize hundreds of thousands of students to vote. She led CALPIRG’s organizing team for years and managed our citizen outreach offices across the state, running campaigns to ban single-use plastic bags, stop the overuse of antibiotics, and go 100% renewable energy. Jenn lives in Los Angeles, where she enjoys spending time at the beach and visiting the many amazing restaurants in her city.