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Your Stuff: Green holiday gift guide - December 6, 2012
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Tickets, gift cards, handmade toys and decorAs you plan for the holidays, from meals to gift giving, consider a few easy ways to reduce waste and make entertaining more satisfying for your guests, for yourself and for the climate.


Reduce your food print! Keeping food waste to a minimum is one of the best ways you can reduce methane, which contributes to climate change. For the food scraps that you do have, remember to include them to your green Portland Composts! roll cart at the curb. Find a complete list of what goes in your roll cart and other composting tips.

Purchase local, healthy food this holiday season

  • Buy seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables from your grocery store or farmer’s market.
  • Bring your reusable bags to the store and buy in bulk.
  • Reduce garbage by preparing a dish out of local ingredients that you can buy without packaging, like apples, pears or hazelnuts.
  • Consider buying an inexpensive, durable set of dishes that you can load into the dishwasher and box up until your next party instead of using plastic platters and paper or plastic plates and cups.


  • Compost as you go.
  • Find out how much meat, vegetables or pasta to prepare for your guests.
  • Serve food buffet-style so people can choose the best portions for themselves.


  • Ask guests to scrape their plates directly into your kitchen compost container.
  • Use durable storage options for leftovers. Invite your friends and family to bring along food containers for their leftovers.


Keep it local and buy smart! People living in the Portland area throw away 25 percent more garbage during the holiday season and recycling volumes increase by a third. So with this in mind, it's also the time of year to consider giving gifts that help people consume less high-impact stuff.

Give the gift of an experience

  • Massage, pedicure or restaurant gift certificates.
  • Passes, memberships or tickets the zoo, OMSI, aquarium, art museum, a play or movie, a gym and sharing organizations like tool libraries.
  • Art, music, sewing, carpentry, cooking, kayaking, rock climbing lessons or classes.

Be creative with handmade gifts and holiday décor

  • Sew or knit a scarf or mittens using recycled or scrap materials.
  • Bake, can or pickle gifts items.

Give local crafts and vintage finds

  • Shop locally at school and church craft bazaars or Saturday Market.
  • Find gifts at vintage and second-hand stores or estate and garage sales.

Consider wrapping and packaging

  • Choose items with reusable or recyclable packaging.
  • Use cloth bags instead of wrapping paper or sew your own.

More holiday ideas are available through The Center for a New American Dream and their pledge for simplifying the holidays.

Find sustainable holiday resources at Metro.

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