In The Loop

Welcome to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority's Blog

Entries Tagged as Waste Matters

Giving Green for the Holidays

December 15, 2016 ·

There is nothing like the special moment when a loved one finally opens the gift you’ve thoughtfully picked just for them. This year, why not give them a gift that will make a lasting and sustainable impact?

Here are some tips for giving green this holiday season:

Sustainable Wrapping.
Did you know if every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields? Unwrapping gifts is an important part of the gift-giving experience, but it often results in a significant amount of waste. Instead of purchasing new wrapping materials, consider more sustainable and creative ways to surprise your loved ones. Upcycle old maps, newspapers and other print products to wrap gifts.

Natural and Homemade Gifts.
From a plant to something edible, natural gifts are easily recycled or consumed, and have a much smaller carbon footprint.

If you want your gift to be extra special, make it! Handmade items can be more meaningful and cost-effective. Check out these easy handmade gift ideas for inspiration.

The Gift of Experience.
The holidays don’t have to be all about physical gifts. Give loved ones the gift of your time with an experience – volunteer, take a cooking class or see a movie together. Need some ideas? Here are fun ways to give experiences instead of stuff.


Tags: Green Tips · Waste Matters

Decorating Green for the Holidays

December 15, 2016 ·

Did you know, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, Americans throw away one million extra tons of garbage each week?

Many celebrate the holidays as a season of giving, and one of the most important gifts we can give is to make choices that help ensure a sustainable future for our community and environment. “Going Green” is easier than you think, and small changes can make a big difference.

Here are a few eco-friendly decorating tips to get you in the spirit of “going green” this holiday season:

Lighting.
A favorite holiday activity is the tour of beautiful lights adorning homes and businesses in our community. While lovely to look at, holiday lighting can increase energy consumption.

When decorating with lights, consider more efficient LED bulbs. Though more costly up front, they last longer and use less electricity. Over a 30-day period, lighting 500 traditional holiday lights will cost about $18, while the same number of LED lights costs only $0.19. As an added bonus, if one of the LED lights burns out the rest of the strand will stay lit.

Christmas Trees: Live or Fake?
For some, the Christmas tree is a focal point of holiday decorations. Artificial trees are a first choice for many because they can be displayed for several years, and seemingly reduce the number of trees being cut down.

Surprisingly though, live Christmas trees may actually be the most sustainable choice. Most are grown on tree farms where, in many cases, represent the only crop the soil can support. They also provide shelter for native animal and bird species.

Many artificial trees, however, are made with petroleum-based plastics and have a much larger carbon footprint than live trees. This is largely due to their manufacturing origin, which is often international countries like China.

Buying a live tree from a local tree farm or stand, also supports local businesses, and in turn, the community.

TIP: If you’re planning to go with a live tree, remember to recycle it when the season ends. You can mulch the tree or process it into firewood. Penn Waste will collect live trees from Lancaster Township residents January 9-12. For more information about tree recycling in Lancaster County click here.

Decorating “Green”.
While bright shiny tinsel and plastic snowflakes look very nice around the house, they contribute to a significant amount of annual holiday waste. Using organic material for holiday decorations is a great way to decorate in a sustainable manner. Many stores sell live wreaths, holiday arrangements or ornaments. Don’t forget! Organic decorations can be composted. Check out these tips for composting.

Looking for a holiday activity you can do with friends and family? Make your own decorations! Here are some fun green DIY holiday decoration ideas.

Tags: Green Tips · Waste Matters

Dining Green for the Holidays

December 15, 2016 ·

​While the holiday season often means splurging, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate without being wasteful. Many of us will spend lots of time with friends and family around the dinner table, where perhaps the most excess waste occurs. Here are some tips to help you enjoy holiday meals with loved ones, and make sustainable choices.

Setting the Table.
Though it’s tempting to go with the convenience of disposable products, they aren’t always eco-friendly. Instead, stick with reusable dinnerware and table linens. Expecting a large crowd and afraid you’ll run out of dinnerware? You don’t have to break the bank - purchase a fun and eclectic mix of plates, cups and silverware at a flea market or garage sale. Going green for the holidays can be fun too. Check out these reusable napkin folding ideas that are sure to impress.

Think Local.
Much of your holiday meal can be purchased locally thanks to local growers. Beans, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, eggplants, onions, mushrooms, potatoes and squash are all produce that can be bought locally during the winter months. Not only does locally grown food put money back into your community, it also reduces your food’s carbon footprint because many grocery stores ship from across the country and overseas. Local farmer’s markets are a good place to start.

Eliminate Food Waste.
Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of year, and food waste makes up about 21% of what is discarded.

The first step to reducing holiday food waste is determining how much you’ll need to feed your guests. Keep these “rules of thumb” in mind while planning for your event.

If you still have leftovers despite your efforts, don’t fret. Send them home with guests. Encourage guests to bring reusable containers to dinner so they’re prepared to take food home when the festivities end.

​Composting is another easy way to eliminate holiday food waste. New to composting? Learn more here.

Tags: Green Tips · Recycling · Waste Matters

September Issue of Waste Matters

September 30, 2015 ·

Check out LCSWMA's latest issue of Waste Matters, our monthly e-newsletter. 

Click here to view the e-newsletter.

Tags: Waste Matters

July Issue of Waste Matters E-News

July 28, 2015 ·

Click here to view the July issue of LCSWMA's Waste Matters e-newsletter. 

Tags: Waste Matters

June Issue of Waste Matters

June 24, 2015 ·

To read the June issue of LCSWMA's Waste Matters e-newsletter, click here

Tags: Waste Matters