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Dreaming of a Green Holiday Season

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Green holiday tips
Green holiday tips

Posted on Monday, December 19, 2016
By: J.P. Mascaro & Sons
Categories: Main Category  |  Recycling

You hear it all the time, “The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year!”  And they are!  The holiday spirit brings out the best in almost everyone.  Kids are doing their finest Saint Theresa impression to stay off the naughty list and adults tend to mimic this behavior by showcasing their most generous and kind selves.  The moment Thanksgiving hits, excitement fills the air.  Oh how fun are the lights, the presents, the food, the cards, the decorations, etc.!  Yet with all this fun comes a tremendous increase in waste.  Households produce an additional 25% of waste from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  That’s an extra 1 million tons a week that show up at our landfills!  But this doesn’t have to be the case.  We can reduce this number without reducing the enjoyment!  Not to mention the always welcomed added bonus of keeping your bank account healthier.

Let’s start with that tree you pick out for Santa to store presents under.  Choose a live one!  These trees are a renewable resource typically grown locally for the sole purpose of decorating your living room so no need to worry about deforestation.  They can then be replanted or composted at the conclusion of the holiday season.  Plastic, a.k.a. “fake”, trees are made of unrecyclable petroleum products and use up resources in both manufacturing and shipping. They only stay nice for a few years and, once discarded, they fill up our landfills.  Live trees smell nicer and are more festive so it’s a win-win for us and our surroundings.  So enjoy putting ornaments on a fresh tree this season and support a prosperous environment!


Only the Grinch probably doesn’t like to receive those annual cards showcasing your family and friends' best smiles or a warm greeting filled with pictures of your holiday favorites.  But does it really matter how you end up viewing it?  It is estimated that there are enough holiday cards sold each year to fill an entire football field 10 stories high!  Why not send an electronic card this year?  Or if you absolutely can’t resist those physical cards, look for ones made of recycled paper to send out and be sure the ones you receive end up in the recycle bin rather than the garbage can when you are done enjoying them.  And don’t forget to cut out their array of decorative symbols first and use them for gift tags the next year! 


Who doesn’t enjoy admiring the beautiful and joyful holiday lights that spring up this season?  The Griswold’s home in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is enough to turn anyone’s frown upside down so we don’t want to be a bah humbug and suggest eliminating lights.  How about using LED bulbs?  Not only will they save energy, their efficiency will save you money!  They last longer, are durable and more environmentally friendly.  Whatever lights you decide on, make sure they are on a timer to turn off once everyone is snuggled in bed and not awake to admire them.  We bet even Chevy Chase would be on board!


Another green tip that is both environmentally friendly and keeps your wallet a bit fuller is to reuse your holiday decorations each winter!  Better yet, invest in ones that can be used for various holidays throughout the year so they get even more action.  And think outside the gift box!  When unwrapping large presents, save the paper for reuse on smaller items.  Conceal those gifts in reusable packaging, such as previous years’ bags, boxes and ribbon.  According to CalRecycle, if every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon the amount saved could tie a bow around the entire planet!  If you are decorating your package with ribbon, try to avoid tape so the wrapping paper has a better chance of being reused.  And it’s always best to choose paper containing recycled content. 


While we are speaking of gifts.  This is the time when older electronics are replaced by newer ones.  Attempt to keep these difficult to dispose of items out of the landfill and donate those that still have some life left.  Visit public drop-off centers, like TotalRecycle in Birdsboro, Pa, to recycle the E-Waste that has no takers. 


Last but certainly not least.  The endless supply of delicious food!  Our eyes tend to be bigger than our tummies and it is estimated that at least 28 billion pounds of food is wasted each holiday season. Don’t throw it out!  Use that holiday giving mentality and donate it to a local shelter.  If that’s not a possibility, pack it up for your guests to bring home and devour once their appetites return.  In addition, while those parties are in full swing, make sure it is easy for your guests to recycle with clearly marked bins.


With a little imagination and minimal effort we will realize how much we can recycle, reduce and reuse, not just during the holidays but every day.  Too many recyclables wind up at our landfills simply because the public isn’t aware of how many items are actually capable of being recycled.  Check out for a quick education on recyclable goodies!

While we are still dreaming of a White Christmas, we also have our sights on a GREEN one.  Just making a few minor changes to our holiday routine has the potential to have a tremendous positive impact on the environment.  Let’s keep the holiday season the most wonderful time of the year but let’s no longer allow it to be the most wasteful!

Tagged:Green, Recycle, Recycling, Sustainability, Giving, Community, Landfill-Free, Landfills, Environment, Solid Waste, Trash, Garbage, Compost, Composting, Food scraps, Evironmental Responsibility, Earth, Planet, Carbon Footprint, Kids, Children, Christmas, Holidays, Gifts, Trees, Lights, Santa, Decorations, Ribbon, Ewaste, E-Waste, Green Christmas, Save Money

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