WDNR – Tips to help turn your white Christmas green

Posted on December 5, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

MADISON – People looking for ideas on how they can help the environment and save some money this holiday season can find tips on reducing holiday waste, including an innovative way to reuse colorful wrapping paper, on the Department of Natural Resources Web site.

“From using less packaging, to buying environmentally friendly gifts, to creative reuse of materials in decorations, the holiday season offers many opportunities to help the environment by reducing waste while saving money,” says Cynthia Moore, DNR recycling program coordinator.

Every Wisconsin resident each year generates an average of 1,628 pounds of municipal solid waste, or nearly four-and-a-half pounds per day, which includes both household waste and an individual’s share of commercial waste. During the holidays, waste can increase with extra packaging, gift wrap, disposable dishes, leftover food and more.

The DNR’s holiday waste reduction tips can be found on the DNR’s EEK! Environmental Education for Kids Web site. The suggestions include:

  • Buy and use decorations that can be used more than once.
  • Use reusable plates, cups, silverware and napkins instead of disposables.
  • Don’t waste food! Divide up holiday leftovers in reusable containers between guests so that the leftovers are eaten and not wasted.
  • Buy items made with recycled materials.
  • Buy a “live” holiday tree that can be planted in the yard in the spring, or place your “used” cut holiday tree in the yard to provide cover for rabbits and birds during heavy snowfall, cover it with strands of popcorn and cranberries, and place pine cone feeders on it to feed the birds. In the spring, chip the tree and use it for mulch.
  • Wrap gifts in Sunday comics, old maps, or your own artwork drawn on the back of scrap paper.
  • Reuse ribbons, bows, gift bags and decorative wrappings from the gifts you receive.
  • Don’t take a new store bag if there’s room in one you’re already carrying.
  • Save cardboard boxes for other purposes or include with your recyclables.
  • Make the wrapping part of the gift. For example, wrap a kitchen gift in a colorful holiday hand towel or place a set of earrings in a new pair of gloves
  • When buying electronic toys and other portable items that are used regularly, purchase rechargeable batteries to go with them.
  • Look for energy-efficient LED lights for holiday decorations.

A Holiday Recycling “feature” button on the DNR Web site links to a video highlighting one option for reusing wrapping paper—shredding it to use as colorful filler in gift boxes and bags.

“Reusing gift wrap is an easy way to reduce your environmental footprint and save money at the same time,” according to Moore. “This is another good option for those who like to save wrapping paper, but have a hard time reusing it because of the size of scraps, tears and tape marks.”


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