Guest Speaker Mary Allen.
 
The guest speaker for our weekly meeting of November 22, 2016 was Mary Allen, from Solid Waste Agency of Norther Cook County. Mary spoke about the agency operation and gave many examples on how to minimize waste in every day life.
 
Below are several tips to minimize waste for the coming holidays and beyond.
 
 
Tips to Reduce Waste This Holiday Season
 
PARTIES
 
  • Use reusable dishes, glassware, silverware and napkins for entertaining rather than disposables ones
  • Fr formal affairs, consider buying clothing from consignment shops
  • Give leftovers to guests to take home, put in containers and freeze for another time, or compost
  • Turn heat down. Guests will warm up the room naturally
 
CARDS
 
  • Postmasters report that up to 20% of all mail is incorrectly addressed or otherwise undeliverable.  Save time, money and resources by updating and paring down your list, and by sending e-mail wishes
  • Avoid cards with laminated, foil-stamped or metallic links – look for cards printed with soy-based ink
  • Avoid glitzy foil-lined envelopes – they cannot be recycled
  • Look for high post-consumer waste content for recycled paper cards (100% if possible)
 
GIFT GIVING IDEAS
 
  • Plan ahead. Making a list and checking it twice will save time, money and last-minute shopping frenzies
  • Give gifts of the “heart” – give your time or talents. Offer to baby-sit, wash the car, do house chores, run errands, make a “trash to treasure” gift from odds and ends, give baked goods, etc., or make a charitable donation in a loved one’s memory
  • Keep it simple – less can be more. Think carefully about what gifts friends and family really need and want
  • Start a savings account or give a savings bond for children. It is fun to watch the money grow and it teaches children the value of fiscal conservation
  • Shop for gifts at an antique store, estate sale or a flea market, since one person’s trash is another’s treasure
  • Give waste-less gifts such as tickets to concerts, museums, or sporting events, gift certificates or house plants
  • Give durable products that will last
  • Need a stocking stuffer? Give packets of seeds. Plant indoors and transplant to the garden in spring
  • Bring your own durable cloth shopping bag to the store with you and consolidate purchases into one bag rather than getting a new bag for each purchase
  • Donate unwanted or unused gifts to charity or a shelter. Be sure to call your local charity or shelter to find out what donations are accepted
 
GIFT WRAP
 
  • Make your own personalized, festive gift wrap using materials you already have around the house or classroom (shopping bags, scraps or fabric, buttons, stencils, paint, etc.)
  • Use the comics for kids, the Financial Section for your favorite banker, and old map for the traveler, etc.
  • Decorate packages with your own stamps. Draw a design on a potato, sponge or cork, then cut the material away from the outside of the design. Press the design into paint or an inkpad and stamp away
  • Make shiny ribbon by cutting strips of potato chip bag (inside of bag)
  • Make your own gift tag from old cards or decorative paper, use pinking shears for fancy
  •  edges
  • Reuse a container, bag or box that might have been thrown away to box a gift
  • Make paper heads from pieces of oddly shaped gift wrap and magazines.
 
DECORATIONS
 
  • Approximately fifty million Christmas trees are purchased each year in the United States. Consider a potted tree that can be planted in the yard, or an artificial one to be reused for years to come
  • The smaller bulbs on a light strand, the lower the wattage. Low-wattage bulbs consume less energy and give off less heat
  • Homemade ornaments: Make a nature ornament from a twig, bark, pine cones, etc., or drill a hole in fast food meal toys to create an ornament when a book is added, or laminate a special photo for the tree
  • Tie old buttons on to a length of strings to make old-fashioned looking garland
  • Make your own luminaries. Rinse out empty soup of coffee-type cans, remove the label and punch holes into the sides to make a snowflake design. Then place a candle in the bottom and light it
  • Save some fresh evergreen needles in the dish and set it in the your bathroom. Whenever the air needs a fresh scent stir up the needles
  • Use dried-out thee sprigs as kindling for cozy fire.