Tips to reduce food waste & recycling issues this holiday season

Tips to reduce food waste & recycling issues this holiday season
Christmas gifts (Source: NBC)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The holiday season is full of merriment and fun, but have you though about what all that spending, buying and shopping is doing to our environment.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, there is a 25 percent increase in household waste. This is both in recycling and food waste, which tops the list every year nationally and locally.

DHEC experts have some helpful tips for you and your family to reduce wastefulness this Christmas.

Recycling:

- Before recycling anything, residents need to check with their local recycling coordinators to see what is accepted in their area.

- Richland and Lexington Counties and the City of Columbia all offer recycling apps that are free to download.

Do not put in curbside recycling:

-Christmas lights;

-Packaging (e.g., bubble wrap, cellophane, styrofoam);

-Decorative packaging (e.g., ribbons, bows);

-Laminated, glittery or foil-embellished wrapping paper; and

-Plastic shopping bags -- Donate these to your local food bank; they use them to distribute food to families in need.

Food Waste:

- The average family of four wastes $1,800 worth of food each year, while 1 in 7 South Carolinians are food insecure.

- 1 in 5 children in South Carolina struggle with hunger. So understand date labels -- dates on food items refer to peak flavor and texture, not food safety. When figuring out whether or not to eat something, do the smell test.

- There will always be some scraps and trimmings you can’t eat or donate. For these, you can start composting in your backyard.

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