Environment and Conservation Offers Tips for a Greener Holiday

Sunday, November 19, 2006 | 06:00pm

Resolve To Create Less Waste In 2007

Nashville, Tenn. – Americans throw away an estimated 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than at any other time of the year, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Partners for Environmental Progress.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is working with its Pollution Prevention and Keep America Beautiful partners to create greater awareness of these household waste generation patterns, their impacts on natural resources and the resulting increase in landfill disposal costs.

“From giving environmentally friendly gifts to composting Christmas trees when the holiday celebration is over, there are a host of simple steps we can take to reduce waste without sacrificing tradition,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke. “These tips reflect ways we can celebrate the holidays and still treat the earth with kindness.”

Tips for a Greener Holiday & New Year

  • Give consumable gifts such as candles, soap, note cards or food items, or invite someone over for a home-cooked meal.
  • Bring along your own cloth bag for holiday shopping instead of accepting plastic or paper store bags.
  • Give environmentally friendly gifts such as canvas bags, travel mugs, garden tools or cloth napkins and linens. Avoid battery-dependent gifts or tools or provide rechargeable batteries.
  • Donate money to a cause the recipient cares about.
  • Choose well-made classic items such as books, sports equipment, long-lasting cooking or building tools rather than the trendy items. Think repairable!
  • Chip or compost a cut tree after the holiday season is over. Call your local public works department for more information.
  • Use a digital camera at holiday events.
  • Start a savings account for a child or give stocks or bonds. It’s fun to watch money grow and it teaches children the value of financial conservation. Stocks and bonds also make good gifts for adults.
  • Shop for gifts at antique stores, estate sales or flea markets. One person’s trash is another’s treasure!
  • Use yarn or raffia instead of ribbon or bows; wrap gifts in newspaper or use brown paper bags.
  • Give a compact fluorescent bulb or light fixture; they last longer, burn cooler, and use 75% less energy!
  • Use LED (light-emitting diode) Christmas lights to decorate the tree. Check out www.efi.org for a list of energy- efficient products.
  • Tie a simple bow around oversized gifts instead of gift-wrapping them.
  • Donate unwanted gifts and last year’s gifts the kids have outgrown to charitable organizations.
  • And last but not least, there’s no place like home, especially during the holidays. Pretend you’re a tourist visiting your own town. Visit a museum or a state park and take in the local sites. During the holidays, take the time to enjoy what’s readily available right in your own backyard!

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