Campus News

Easy Ways to Stay 'Green' This Holiday Season

Consider using brown craft paper or newspaper comic strips, which can be recycled, when wrapping presents.
Consider using brown craft paper or newspaper comic strips, which can be recycled, when wrapping presents.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2020) ­— Looking for ideas on easy ways to reduce your environmental impact during the holiday season? With the help of University of Kentucky Recycling, here are easy ideas for you and everyone in your life to stay green this holiday season.

  • Think reusables when wrapping — Use reusable bags or containers when wrapping instead of onetime use items. Also consider using brown craft paper or newspaper comic strips, which can be recycled, or wrapping presents with reusable bags or scarves.
  • Send electronically — Send electronic greeting cards instead of sending cards through the mail to help you reduce the amount of waste you generate this holiday season.
  • Decorate your home with a live tree — Decorate with a live tree instead of a fake one. When the holidays are over, plant it in your yard. An added bonus, decorate the tree with real greenery and then compost it after.
  • Look for electronic recycling programs — Lots of people upgrade electronics around the holidays. Wondering what to do with the old ones? Look for electronic recycling centers, such as Lexington’s Electronic Recycling Center. A full list of acceptable items is here.
  • Shop at resale places —​Thrifting is reusing good condition items. Not only is shopping at resale stores usually cheaper, but it also supports local businesses or charities. A full list of resale places in Lexington can be found here.
  • Give everyday items a new life — Turn a teacup into a candle or a mini planter, or a soda can into a unique ornament. With a little creativity, items can be reused and given a new life for your friends and family to enjoy.
  • Give gifts that can be reused — Everyone needs a reusable water bottle or coffee mug. Give useful gifts that everyone loves and can be reused year-round. Other examples are silicone food bags, stainless steel straws and travel utensils.
  • Plan ahead and prevent food waste — Create a list of ingredients you will need for your holiday meals before you shop, to prevent food waste.
  • Honor someone with a donation — Donate to a local charity or donate your nonperishable food items and good condition household items as a gift in someone’s honor. Items stay out of the landfill, and you are helping the community at the same time.
  • Learn a new skill and gift it — Almost everyone has taken up a new hobby during quarantine. Learn a new skill such as knitting or baking and gift it to those on your list.
  • Compost those holiday leftovers — Learn to compost or start a compost pile at home. Find more info here.
  • Give the gift of experiences — Not sure what to get someone? Give the gift of an experience. Get them tickets to a concert or take them bowling when businesses open back up. Experiences are more likely to be unique and personal than material gifts — and do not generate materials for landfills.
  • Continue to recycle during the holidays — Find out what is recyclable in your area and participate in the program. Recycle all your cardboard, aluminum cans and plastic bottles and jugs and help keep them out of the landfill.

For information about what is recyclable at UK visit For any other information about UK recycling visit or contact           

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.