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Five Ways to Reduce Holiday Waste

Are you in a quandary over how to maintain all your holiday enthusiasm without breaking the bank or harming the environment? Do you ever wonder how you can make small changes to yield big results? While Christmas is definitely a season of joy and love, it is also results in massive excess and lavishness. The following are a few holiday categories that see the most waste and what you can do about it.

Food: First of all, only buy as much as you need. The holidays tend to be a time of excess and food waste is consistently one of the most over-bought holiday items. Plan for the number of people you will be hosting and buy accordingly; people don’t eat 6 more servings on Christmas than normally. Also, if you wind up with extra food, see if donating to a local soup kitchen or other shelter is an option. Additionally, buying local greens and other supplies cuts down on emissions from shipping and packaging waste. Plus it helps your local growers and, by extension, your local economy.

Paper: Saving and reusing paper every year cuts down on physical and financial waste. Why keep buying new rolls of wrapping paper if the stuff from last year is still in good condition? Also, get creative with what you use to wrap. Sunday’s comic section in your newspaper is a colorful option, as are old greeting cards and the construction paper you’ve had laying around forever.

Tree: Buying a tree that can be replanted in your area is a great way to get in the holiday spirit and do something good for the environment. If you have to have a traditional cut tree, make sure to participate in a tree recycling program, available in most areas. Check out www.earth911.org to find a one near you.

Gas: Linking shopping trips and carpooling with friends and family saves time and gas. During the holidays, we use more gas than usual, running from the mall, to the market and back home, not to mention our usual errands. Carpooling can also be a fun, social way to get your shopping done.

Gifts: While some may consider re-gifting their own personal quest to recycle, an effective conservation technique that is guaranteed social disaster free is simply buying local. As with food, buying local boosts the economy where you live as well as reduces carbon emissions by cutting down on shipping and transportation. Besides you are more likely to get an original and unique gift at a better price anyway.

We hope these holiday tips help get your holiday season off to a green start. Remember, a little change from a lot of people turns out big results. So start conserving today and perhaps you’ll inspire those around you to do the same. After all, isn’t the holiday season about giving, sharing and making time for the people, places and things you love?  Happy Holidays!

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