Christa Dunlap still remembers folding origami animals with her son instead of buying decorations for the holidays. “I came from a big family and we didn’t waste anything,” says Dunlap, program director at California State University of Northridge’s Child and Family Studies Center. “We made new things out of old things.”
Reusing and recycling for a family New Year’s Eve party is a great way to ring in the New Year—and teach children that protecting the planet can also be fun. “Origami out of newspaper circulars make a great New Year’s garland,” Dunlap says. “Everything is new when you’re looking through kids’ eyes.”
This kind of thinking is needed especially around the holidays. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 25 percent more garbage between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than any other time of year. (That equals 25 million tons of holiday trash.) On New Year’s Eve, that includes party hats, noisemakers, party poppers, and confetti—most of which are made of nonrecyclable plastic.