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Tips for celebrating a green holiday season |

Tips for celebrating a green holiday season

During the holiday season, it seems like there is more of everything: More running around, more food to eat, more people to meet, more events to attend, and more spending — all of which can lead to more trash.


It’s no small amount of trash either. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate 1 million tons more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than they do at other times of the year. This can lead to quite the holiday hangover for the environment.

So, what can you do to celebrate the holidays sustainably?

It takes just a little bit of planning and effort, but going green is possible and can result in many long-term benefits.

A good place to start is energy efficiency. Let’s face it, holiday decorations are fun, but they can result in a serious increase to your electrical bill. Instead, try to use decorations that don’t incorporate lights, such as wreaths or other natural materials. If you do use lights in your holiday display, use energy efficient LED lights. Plugging your lights into a timer can also help save electricity.

Aside from decorations, think sustainably when it comes to gift-giving. When you buy battery-powered gifts, use rechargeable batteries. While they are generally more expensive, it pays off in the long run as you don’t have to constantly buy new batteries for your game controller or battery-powered toy. Rechargeable batteries also help reduce the amount of toxic chemicals that have to be disposed of properly.

Don’t throw away your out-of-date electronics, instead, recycle them. Many people look to upgrade their electronics this time of year. Towards the end of the year, you will see people put their old electronics on the curb. Don’t do this. Items such as televisions, laptops, cell phones, and other computer components are banned from landfills. Instead, recycle your old gadgets the right way at the Brown County Hazardous Material Recovery Facility (a nominal fee is charged).

Another time to think sustainably is while you’re preparing for a holiday get together.

Instead of mailing paper invites, send electronic party invites. Instead of using disposable dinnerware that gets thrown away, use supplies that are made from sustainable, recycled, or reusable materials. A large party can also result in a lot of leftover food. Instead of throwing it all out, divide it up among your guests (many people love leftovers) or donate it to your local food pantry.  

There also are plenty of options for reducing waste while wrapping gifts. One option is buying gift wrap made from recycled materials. You can also save wrapping paper from gifts you receive to use next year. If you are crafty, you can make your own gift wrap from cloth and other materials. Also, if you have spare boxes from online shopping lying around, reuse them as packages for your gifts instead of buying new ones.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, there are plenty of holiday traditions to partake in. Creating more garbage does not have to be one of them.

By thinking sustainably, you can ensure this holiday season stays environmentally sound. For a full list of items you can recycle, visit the Brown County Resource Recovery website.

Mark Walter is business manager at Brown County Port Resource Recovery 

 

 

 

Category: Dinnerware  Tags: ,  Comments off
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