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Holiday waste costs the purse and the planet - so why not simplify?

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Viking Sewing, Vacuum, Spa & Stove
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Lane County Waste Management
One way to reduce holiday waste is to fix stuff that we already have. The act can be a great gift offering.

This time of year is known for over-consumption. In Lane County there’s a campaign called “Simplify the Holidays,” encouraging consumers and businesses to re-imagine ways to be festive without hurting the planet or pocketbook.

The Center for Biological Diversity finds American households generate 23% more tons of waste in December. That’s like filling 28,700 Boeing 747s with stuff and then throwing it away.

Lane County’s Waste Reduction Coordinator, Daniel Hiestand said all waste has costs. “With inflation’s dramatic rise, food prices have risen more than 10% according to the U.S. Labor Department’s consumer price index,” he said. “What that means is for every Christmas cookie or hors d’oeuvre that goes into the trash, that’s lost money.”

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Dan Hiestand
Lane County’s Waste Reduction Coordinator, Daniel Hiestand shows off a gift of dried herbs in a reusable Mason jar.

As for holiday gifts, Hiestand hopes consumers consider giving experiences instead material things. Say an evening of babysitting or a concert.

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Tiffany Eckert
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KLCC
Phil Lesh plays at the Cuthbert Ampitheater in Eugene. The gift of live music is an experience that leaves little waste.

And when a business makes and sells products that can be easily repaired, like his parents’ 60 year-old toaster, Hiestand said good designs lead to both reduced material use and cost savings.

Choosing to repair something instead of buying new is a gift idea that keeps on giving. FiX iT Lane County is a place to go to get stuff fixed, mended and repaired. Hiestand says the program supports the local economy and offers a great model that sustainability can be profitable through the growing “repair movement.”

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Viking Sewing, Vacuum, Spa & Stove

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Lane County Waste Management
Choosing to repair something instead of buying new is a gift idea that keeps on giving.

Eat Smart Waste Less has lots of tips for reducing food waste from meal planning to taking reusable storage containers to restaurants for the leftovers. There’s even a way to keep track of what is in your cupboard or freezer with the free Cozi app.

Find more waste saving tips and holiday gift giving ideas to Simplify the Holidays Waste Wise Lane County.

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Lane County Wast Management
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Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.