The following are a few easy ways to make this holiday season greener:
1. Many products are made from recycled or organic content that make great gifts. Look for bags or fleece clothing made from recycled plastic bottles or organic cotton T-shirts or other apparel. Many online and catalog retailers sell these types of products. Whatever you give, be sure to buy durable, reusable products that will last a long time.
2. For the trendsetter on your shopping list, purchase vintage clothing or accessories from consignment or second-hand stores.
3. Give potted plants, flowers, or trees that the recipient can plant in the garden or yard – not only will it be a gift that continues to be a beautiful reminder of the holidays throughout the year, but it will also provide benefits to the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the air.
4. Thousands of paper and plastic shopping bags end up in landfills every year. Reduce the number of bags thrown out by bringing reusable cloth bags for holiday gift shopping. Tell store clerks you don't need a bag for small or oversized purchases.
5. Make your own wrapping paper by using old maps, posters or pages from this newspaper or magazines. Recycled-content wrapping paper is also available. Save bags and bows to use again and be sure to recycle the newspapers or brown paper shopping bags after the gift is opened, or use it for padding when shipping gifts.
6. Use e-mail for your holiday greetings – it’s a great way to share photos and keep in touch more frequently and saves paper and postage. If you send cards, make them with last year’s cards or wrapping paper.
7. Consider giving no-waste gifts, such as music or sports lessons, memberships to a gym, the philharmonic or a museum, favors like babysitting or tickets to a sporting event or concert. Find out the gift recipient’s favorite charity and make a donation in his or her honor, or commit to volunteering with that organization.
With a little imagination and commitment, you can use this holiday season to create new traditions that help preserve the environment. For more information about Waste Management’s comprehensive list of recycling services, visit www.thinkgreenfromhome.com, where you can purchase recycling kits and gift cards for your family and friends.