Robert Lilienfeld and William Rathje, authors of Use Less Stuff: Environmental Solutions for Who We Really Are, are also the founders of Use Less Stuff Day, celebrated since 1994 on the Thursday preceding Thanksgiving. Both efforts are an effort to convince consumers to think about how they consume – products, electricity, water and other daily routine resources.
The holidays are when Americans generate the most trash. Did you know:
• Annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals about 4 million tons.
• Third class mail adds another 4.4 million tons to mail bags and, ultimately, to garbage bags.
• Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Americans send out more than 2.3 billion cards. Laid end to end, that's almost 26,000 miles of cards, enough to circle the Earth and then some.
The Use Less Stuff Yuletide (Hanukkah, Kwanza and all gift-wrapping celebrations) Guide
7 simple steps that take the waste out of your holidays.
* The ULS Report, 2005
1. Plan ahead. Making your list and checking it twice will save time, money and last-minute shopping frenzies.
2. Consolidate your shopping trips. Spending fewer hours driving to malls and shopping centers (and trying to find a parking place) means less wasted gas, time and stress.
Did you know . . .if each family reduced its holiday gasoline consumption by one gallon (about twenty miles), we'd reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tons?
3. Calling the 800 numbers and canceling 10 mail-order catalogues you don't want will reduce your trash by 3.5 pounds per year.
Did you know . . . If everybody did this, the stack of canceled catalogues would be 2,000 miles high.
4. Start a savings account as gifts for kids or loved ones. It's fun to watch the money grow and it teaches children the value of financial conservation.
5. Make your own personalized, festive gift wrap using materials you already have around the house: the comics for kids or the financial section for your favorite banker; fancy shopping bags; material scraps, etc.
Did you know . . .If each family reused just 2 feet of holiday ribbon each year, 38,000 miles' worth would be saved? That's enough to tie a bow around the entire planet!
6. Keep it simple - less can be more.
7. Think carefully about what gifts friends and family really need and want. One thoughtful gift may be better than six wrapped packages of unwanted gifts.
Did you know . . .it is estimated that last Christmas, gifts worth as much as one billion dollars were unwanted and doomed to attic, basement, garage, or oblivion?
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