Zero Waste Holiday


Deck the halls with less waste this year.

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, we create an additional one million tons of waste each week. This page has tips to help you cut down your waste during the holiday season

Quick Links

"" Give More, Wrap Less - Waste-free gift ideas from Palo Alto community members
"" Trim your entertainment waste 
"" Reduce your holiday food waste

Give More, Wrap Less

Waste-free Gift Ideas from Palo Alto Community Members

This year, rather than giving more ‘stuff’, that eventually ends up in our landfills, consider giving ‘non-stuff’ gifts such as experiences, services and donations. Palo Alto community members have offered their ideas for giving great gifts without all the waste.

Art classes gift
 Waste free gift ideas
 Waste free gift ideas  Cookie kit gifts
 Picnic as a gift Waste free gift ideas
water wise garden transformation as a gift
Waste free gift ideas
Bake cookies for gifts
Waste free gift ideas

More waste-free gift ideas from Palo Alto residents:

  • "My daughter bought and scheduled a Soulcycle class for the day after Christmas, helping us get out and burn calories!" — Hiromi K.
  • “As a gift, we’ll take our grandkids to the Junior Museum. No packaging, no batteries, just great memories!” — Lora S.
  • “My favorite gift idea is a ‘coupon’ for a home-made cake or casserole.” — Carol R.
  • “This year, I’m giving the gift of touch, a bodywork session for a close friend.” — Alona J.
  • “My husband and I got horseback riding lessons as a gift—what a fun experience!” — Rebecca N.

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Trim Your Entertainment Waste

Eat, Drink, Be Merry AND Be Sustainable


Presents are not the only waste generators this season.

Tips for easing your impact on the environment while you enjoy the food and festivities include:

  • Send out party invitations through email to reduce paper use
  • Choose decorations that can be reused over and over
  • Catering in? Choose one who will supply reusable dishes, silverware and napkins
  • Doing it on your own? Use your own dishes, cloth napkins and utensils instead of disposables. Or rent them - many rental agencies deliver.
  • Minimize food waste by getting a good headcount and plan meals carefully
  • Don’t forget to recycle! Make it convenient, have signs and always place recycling and garbage bins together as a set.

Learn more about Zero Waste Parties  

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Reduce Your Holiday Food Waste

Feed Your Loved Ones, Not Landfills


While we’re filling our bellies this holiday season, we shouldn't be filling landfills with perfectly good food!

Plan ahead to make sure all those leftovers don’t get wasted.

  • Bring to-go containers. Ask your dinner guests to bring a food storage container and send them home with some leftovers. This way, you won’t be stuck with a month’s worth of food, and everyone gets to enjoy an extra slice of pumpkin pie.
  • Your freezer is your friend. Freeze leftovers and enjoy a nice treat next month when you want a delicious meal. Read more about how to store your leftovers and how long they will last.
  • Plan out your meal. Sounds simple, but holiday stress is usually just the thing to prompt us to unnecessarily triple every recipe for fear of running out. Try to make only what you need, wasting food not only has an extreme environmental impact, but can also cause you to blow your budget and/or over eat. For tips on how to shop smart, store food properly, and eat what you've purchased visit our Food: Too Good To Waste webpage.  
  • Repurpose your leftovers. Check out some recipes that will help you use up those leftovers from Food Network and Cooking Light.

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