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We’re setting up decorated trees, craving hot cocoa and brainstorming gift ideas for our loved ones. The holiday season is just around the corner.

Make sure you’re on the nice list this year with these tips to reduce waste. Added benefits: You’ll make shopping and gift-giving more meaningful.

Give experiences. Memories last longer than material goods. Plan a trip to the zoo, purchase tickets to a concert or show or sign up for a fun class to take together.

Shop local. Support businesses in your community and save shipping costs and excess packaging.

Get crafty. Whether you like to sew, bake or glue, you’ll find ideas for homemade gifts online. We have some ideas to get you started at: piercecountywa.gov/lesswaste

Each week, the average Pierce County household throws away three pounds of edible food, which only increases during the holiday season. Multiply that by all our households and it quickly adds up to thousands of tons of food going to the landfill!

This season, with a little extra planning, you can beat the waste (and save time and money!).

Cook once, eat all week. Save time on busy weeknights by prepping multiple meals at once. Search online for “cook once, eat all week recipes” to start planning your meal. Once you have a grocery list developed, double check your pantry for ingredients you already have. You’ll only need to go grocery shopping once! Tip: Schedule a day for cooking and storing food. We recommend making sure you have reusable storage containers to keep all the delicious food you’ll make!

Revamp your leftovers. Your leftovers aren’t just yesterday’s dishes, they’re today’s tasty new meals! Try repurposing your leftovers into fresh options.

Save bones and vegetable scraps to make a flavorful soup stock. Wrap up leftover meat, rice and veggies in tortillas or add lettuce to make a salad. Tip: When in doubt, search online for recipes using your leftover ingredients.

Win Tickets to 2019 Fantasy Lights

Dreaming of Fantasy Lights?

Now is your chance! Enter our drawing to win free tickets when you take our online survey by December 1.

200 lucky winners will be notified by email, and tickets will be mailed during the week of December 2.

Add some light to these long winter nights! Fantasy Lights, the annual holiday display at Spanaway Park, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. New displays include Bigfoot, Old Man Winter, T-rex and fleur-de-lis to decorate the fence.

Pierce County Planning and Public Works is a proud sponsor of the event, which adds more energy-saving LED displays every year. This year parks staff will replace the penguin and igloo scene with LED lights.

Snow, ice, flooding and wind storms can knock down trees and powerlines and make it difficult to travel.

Learn how to prepare for storms and sign up for emergency alerts at: piercecountywa.gov/winterwise

Holiday Reminders

The holidays bring a lot of contamination to recycling carts. Use this reminder sheet to help you know what to do with gift wrap, packaging, holiday lights and more.

Remember: Only gift wrap printed on plain paper is recyclable. Glittery or metallic wrap, tissue paper, cellophane and other types of packaging belong in the garbage.

Ever wondered what this sign means?

This is a resin identification code and tells you what type of plastic the container is. However, the number doesn’t indicate whether the plastic can be recycled in Pierce County.

Sort items by shape, because shape determines how a container travels through the sorting facility. The plastic containers we collect can hold their shape and will be sorted properly.