Oregon State University

Recycling 101: Top 10 Thanksgiving recycling tips


As Oregonians gather around their holiday tables this season, many will offer thanks for family, friends, employment and shelter, but many will forget to be thankful for their environment. OSU encourages Oregonians to show their appreciation for the planet by following these Thanksgiving recycling tips.


1.  Use eco-friendly cleaning products. Search for products that are biodegradable and use recycled, organic, or nontoxic products whenever possible.

2.  Purchase organic and locally grown yams, green beans and other produce. Prepare a holiday feast that is both delicious and environmentally friendly. When buying local and organic produce, you support your economy and help reduce carbon emissions by decreasing the cost and environmental impact of shipping.

3.  Use dishware for holiday dinners and save money.By using cloth napkins, reusable utensils, cups and dinner plates instead of paper and plastic, you will save money and cut down on waste while creating a festive ambiance.

4.  DIY: Create a festive holiday atmosphere. Instead of purchasing holiday cheer, make decorations at home. Craft turkeys out of recycled paper; create festive napkin rings out of paper rolls and make new holiday candles by melting older candles down, combining the wax and adding a new wick.

5.  Carpool to holiday gatherings. When planning your holiday get-togethers, make an effort to reduce carbon emissions by carpooling or taking public transportation to and from your holiday parties.

6.  Recycle holiday beverage containers.It’s easy to consume beverages out of cans, bottles and glass containers during the holidays and many of these containers can be recycled. Offer a recycling container next to your garbage bin to make the recycling easy for your guests.

7.  Compost your food scraps.After having your fill of the Thanksgiving feast, compost your food scraps. According to the U.S. Composting Council, “disposing of food waste in a landfill contributes to global warming” because decomposing organic waste in landfills generates methane gas.

8.  Give holiday greetings made from recycled materials. As you prepare to send out your holiday cards, choose remanufactured toner, ink cartridges and paper. If you buy your cards, look for options printed on recycled paper.

9.  Reduce air pollution.Never burn trash in your fireplace or wood stove. Doing so increases toxic air pollution and harmful fumes in your home.  

10.  Have a safe, happy and eco-friendly holiday!


To learn more about recycling and how you can help save our environment, check out Recycling 101 available from Professional and Noncredit Education at Oregon State University. Recycling 101 is a self-paced, online course that consists of eight modules including Managing Food Scraps and Yard Debris, Thoughtful Consumption, Building a Sustainable World: Personal Steps to Empower Your Community, and Waste Reduction at Work and Play. Enroll for just $20 per module or $75 for the entire Recycling 101 course (group discounts available). Continuing education credits (or CEUS) are available to meet professional development standards. Visit our website (pne.oregonstate.edu/recycling) to register and find more information. Happy Thanksgiving!



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