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Simple Steps Put 'Green' Back in Holidays

on December 10, 2012 - 12:29pm

National Regifting Day is Dec. 18. Courtesy photo

COUNTY News:

The New Mexico Recycling Coalition Offers Solutions to Reduce your Holiday Trash

Did you know that Americans produce 25 percent more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day? That means we’re adding one million more tons to the landfill in the span of a month (EPA.)

"Greening the holidays" began as a grass-roots movement, but it practically has turned into an industry. There’s a reason the topic gets so much attention. Many of us yearn for healthier, more meaningful, less expensive and less wasteful holidays. Thankfully, you can start off your holiday season on a green foot by making a few small changes.

It’s easy to get the entire family involved, have fun and decrease the burden on your wallet as well. To help get you started, the New Mexico Recycling Coalition is providing New Mexicans with a simple list of steps the average resident can take to put the green back into the Holidays.

View the full list at http://www.recyclenewmexico.com/holidays.htm. Below is an excerpt from the full list of things you can do to help reduce waste during the holidays:

  • Go Easy on Gifts- Did you know that, National Regifting Day is Dec. 18? Why not pass on something you have loved to someone that you love! You could also draw names for family giving so everyone just gives one person a gift instead of buying for everyone. Nearly every family who switches to this method loves it! Pick a friend who you know will be receptive, and agree not to exchange gifts. Go out for dinner or drinks or a night at the movies instead. When a friend or family member says they “don’t want any more stuff,” take them seriously. If your spouse or partner agrees (very important!), give each other practical gifts you would have bought anyway, such as tools, kitchen stuff or a laptop computer. Also “experience gifts” such as movie tickets or gift certificates cut waste.
  • Compost or mulch your tree- Approximately 33 million live Christmas trees are sold in North America every year (EPA.) After the holidays, look for ways to recycle your tree instead of sending it to a landfill. Check with your community solid waste department and find out if they collect and mulch trees. Municipalities and the public might be able to use chippings from mulched trees for landscaping. Other creative uses include soil erosion barriers, bird habitat and even artificial reefs.
  • Get creative with gift wrap- Wrap gifts in recycled or reused wrapping paper, paper bags, newspapers, funny papers, old calendars, magazines, mesh bags from produce, etc.
  • Shop smart- Consider the durability of a product before you buy it as a gift. Cheaper, less durable items often wear out quickly, creating waste and costing you money. Bake cookies or other goodies and package them in reusable and/or recyclable containers as gifts. Home-made goodies show how much you care and help you avoid packaging waste.
  • Have a create-your-own-decorations party!- Invite family and friends to create and use holiday decorations such as ornaments made from old greeting cards or cookie dough, garlands made from strung popcorn or cranberries, wreaths made from treasures from nature and flowers, and more.
  • Make Room for New Gadgets & Toys -Outgrown toys, clothes and furniture may be donated to charitable groups like Goodwill Industries, The Salvation Army, Big Brothers Big Sisters or other local thrift stores. Many local charities operate thrift stores and are always looking for donated items.
  • Recycle Old and Defective Holiday Lights -Recycle old and broken holiday light strings at participating ACE Hardware stores or check with your local solid waste authority.
  • Lay the Foundation for a “Green” Holiday Meal - Use a cloth tablecloth, cloth napkins reusable dishes, glasses and silverware.
  • Recycling Isn't a Chore: Make it Easy- Last, but not least, recycle your household items and make it easy for guests to recycle if you host a party. Remember recycling isn’t just good for the environment. Last month The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc, (ISRI) released a study that found that the people and firms that purchase, process and broker old materials to be manufactured into new products in America provide 459,140 adults with good jobs in the United States and generates $90.1 billion in economic activity.

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