Are you a Sorta?

Dec 01

Sustainable Holiday Series: Decorations

Posted on December 1, 2022 at 9:29 AM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey

Decorations finalThis holiday season as you set out to make your home or office festive and bright, consider what you can do to reduce waste. Decorations are one of the easiest parts of the holiday to make a switch to sustainable choices. We often already reach for ornaments, stockings, and other decorations that we have tucked away. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for what you are already doing, while looking for areas to improve. What are some other things to keep in mind while doing your holiday decorating?

  • As always avoid single use plastic items and decorations, including tinsel. Cheap, plastic decorations and serving ware ultimately end up taking up landfill space after very little use.
  • Let’s talk about glitter. I’m a bit of a grinch when it comes to glitter. Not only will you be finding it EVERYWHERE for the rest of eternity, it’s made of tiny pieces of harmful plastic. These tiny pieces of plastic easily contaminate our water and soils, leach toxins, and are consumed by wildlife.
  • Use natural materials like pressed flowers/leaves, dried or fresh fruits, herbs, branches/pine boughs, or nuts. Collecting your seasonal décor outside with your family can become a beloved family tradition.
  • Vintage decorations, family heirlooms, and items purchased second hand can fill us with nostalgia and pride knowing that we are giving older items a second life. It is a great way to maximize the energy and resources that went into creating each item.
  • Homemade decorations make a great gift and can be a great way to create a memory to revisit each year when you pull out that decoration. Creating homemade decorations can become a special holiday tradition. Paper chains are a classic holiday decoration that are easy to make for all ages. Use old magazines, holiday cards, children’s artwork, newspapers, or paper bags to create a fun holiday decoration.
Nov 22

Sustainable Holiday Series- Kick Off

Posted on November 22, 2022 at 10:42 AM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey

Sustainable Holiday Series Image FinalDuring the holidays, households typically produce up to 25% more waste. Whether it’s from packaging related to purchases, wasted food, or single use and disposable items it all adds up. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Keep in mind, the best way to have a sustainable holiday is to simplify. When you simplify the holidays, you often reduce your costs, stress, and waste.

With so much focus on supply chain issues, shortages, and increased costs for items- what better time to rethink holiday gift giving? Consider starting early on your gift giving list to be more intentional and thoughtful. This gives you more time to make homemade gifts, as well as to avoid unnecessary last-minute purchases. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share our sustainable holiday series. It will have ideas to help reduce waste when it comes to holiday meals, decorations, shopping/gift giving, and gift wrapping. We compiled some ideas to help you support local businesses, reduce waste, and have a sustainable holiday.

When it comes to holiday meals there are lots of strategies that will help you reduce waste:

  • Make a meal plan- Plan ahead for how many guests you will have and what dishes you will make. There are lots of great online resources to help you plan a successful holiday meal.
  • Make the most of your leftovers- Check out this great resource with creative ideas for using up leftovers. Some of the recipes include: turkey pot pie, turkey soup with stuffing dumplings, turkey Waldorf salad, stuffing-stuffed mushrooms, and more!
  • Use reusable items- By avoiding single-use and disposable items you not only reduce waste, but you can also save a lot of money. Ceramic dishes, glassware, and cloth napkins are an easy way to make your event feel elegant.
  • Compost your scraps- Hopefully you have been able to use up all those leftovers, but inevitably your left with scraps that aren’t edible. During your meal prep and after the meal you may be left with potato/carrot peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells. If you are not already composting at home, consider checking out a curbside or drop off composting service. We’ve got a list of service providers here.
Nov 15

Happy America Recycles Day

Posted on November 15, 2022 at 11:30 AM by Regina Sousa

Happy America Recycles Day! Do you ever wonder where your recyclables go after you put them in the recycling bin? Used items journey through several stages of the recycling process as they are transformed into renewed, marketable items. Knowing the stages of the recycling process helps us to understand why it is so important to recycle right.

Here in Ontario County all of the materials that are collected for recycling are taken to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) located adjacent to the Ontario County Landfill. Often people ask us if the materials they separate for recycling are actually recycled. YES, they are! According to the NYS DEC any materials that are separated by you and taken to the MRF cannot be disposed of as garbage. If you are a wish-cycler, and place items that are not actually recyclable in your bin, those items will be separated and disposed of. You can be confident the rest of those carboard boxes, aluminum cans, and plastic milk jugs are separated by material and sent to manufacturers to be turned into new materials.RRNY Stages of Recycling

What are some of the benefits of recycling? It reduces materials being sent to the landfill, it saves resources and energy, it creates jobs, and it prevents pollution.

Adapted from #RecycleRightNY resources