Zero Waste Holiday Blog

Did you know that Americans create 25% more trash during the #holidays? Reduce your waste and turn up the cheer this holiday with these easy tips. Download the guide below and share with a friend! 

Zero Waste Holiday Guide


  • Instead of giving more “stuff”, consider giving a gift of an experience, subscription or make a donation in their name rather than material items.
  • Looking to decorate your home? Before you buy new, look into options to rent holiday decor or reusable party supplies or check out a local thrift shop! 
  • For your family's holiday dinner, make a detailed grocery list before going shopping to take into account how many people you will be feeding and how much each person typically eats to prevent purchasing more than you need. Make a food waste plan to divert extra scrap, skins and peels from the landfill.


  • Instead of using disposables for your holiday meal, serve on real dishware. Use containers or jars for saving leftover food to prevent the use of plastic ziplock bags. 
  • Use brown bags, comics from the newspaper or recycled fabric to wrap gifts or reuse bags from previous holidays instead of purchasing wrapping paper.
  • Opt for natural decor such as berries, citrus, pine cones, cinnamon sticks or natural foliage instead of buying plastic decorations. If you do buy, invest in good quality decorations that can be used year after year.
  • Gift forward or take a look at your local second hand shop for unique finds. Select gifts that can be reused and cherished for a long time. When in doubt, items such as stainless steel water bottles or sustainable home products such as dish towels or soap dishes or refillable bottles are always a great option! 


  • Christmas lights cannot be put in the curbside recycling bin but can can be taken to an e-waste collection such as the Solana Center! We recommend investing in LED lights which consume 80% less energy and last up to 25 times longer.
  • Wrapping paper, cards or gift tags that are sparkly or have metallic elements or ribbon cannot go in the recycle bin but packaging made off all natural paper can. Sort out stretchy plastic bags or plastic film to bag and bring to a local recycling collection site (search for Encinitas locations at
  • After the holidays, put your tree into the green-waste curbside EDCO bin making sure to remove all decor, tinsel, lights, stands, etc.
  • Take home a Food Cycle bucket from Solana Center to recycle your food scraps to valuable compost through their community compost program. (Check out their $15 Holiday Special to help you compost leftovers and scraps this holiday season!)

Find more information on the City's Trash and Recycling webpage.