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Reduce Your Waste During The Holidays

Posted by Emily Bellmore on 12/12/2014 to Public Education

Are you thinking of throwing a holiday party? Go green for your next soirée. Be sure to put out recycling containers out for your guests including separate containers for bottles and cans as well as containers for your compostable food scraps. Offer reusable cups, silverware, lines and cutlery to your guests. You can wash and re-use them for your next gathering. If you are providing food, shop local! You can find many local and organic ingredients at your winter's farmer's market or Co-op.

Wanting to send Holiday cards this year? Why not send out e-cards instead! Similar to a greeting card or postcard, e-cards are more environmentally friendly, offering the same benefits. These are created through digital media and received through email. These cards can be more versatile than traditional cards, as they can go to many different senders at once, or personalized individually depending on which design you choose. If you prefer paper invites, be sure to use recycled paper.

Giving gifts? How about making upcycled, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) gifts? Why not save a few bucks this winter, and put your crafty skills to use. Gifts produced from upcycled, recycled materials are a fun and unique way to get inspired. Looking for ideas?

Use gift-wrapping alternatives. Did you know that Christmas wrapping paper cannot be recycled? Instead of using this material, why not use other wrapping alternatives such as newspaper, magazine pages, butcher paper, old book or map pages or even empty cardboard toilet paper rolls, to be used as pint sized gift boxes. Pinterest has plenty of ideas on this topic. Here are some alternative gift wrap designs.

Don't forget to turn off and unplug your tree lights when you're not at home. Everyone knows that Christmas lights make our homes feel festive. It's too bad we can't leave those lights on all the time, but let's face it, that can be a waste of energy. Be sure to unplug your Christmas lights both inside and out, to save energy and to also prevent any unwanted mishap such as a fire due to faulty wiring.

Lastly, recycle your live Christmas tree. It's always a sad day when you take down your tree, but the great news is, you can feel good about recycling it! There are many options on how you can recycle it. Most cities have curbside recycling pick-up during the two-weeks after the holiday. You can also drop your tree off at a recycling center. Most facilities have free drop off policies. Lastly, you can always cut your tree with a saw and place the pieces in your compost yard container. Don't forget, you should never burn your Christmas tree in a fire or wood stove. Firs, pines and other evergreens have a high content of turpentine oils that are flammable. If you burn your tree, you may be contributing to creosote buildup that can put you at risk for a chimney fire.

How do you go "green" during the Holidays? Share your story with us!