With record warm temperatures expected on the East Coast, instead of dreaming of a white Christmas, why not consider a green holiday season. Not only will it eliminate waste and save you money, but it will lessen your impact on Mother Earth. Here are a few tips offered by yourPrince George’s County Department of the Environment (DoE) to keep you jolly and green!
- Recycle your Christmas Tree – Don’t send it to the landfill; starting December 28, 2015 through January 29, 2016, the County will collect undecorated, unbagged, live Christmas trees left at curbside on your regularly scheduled yard waste collection day. As an added bonus, DoE will chip the trees into free mulch to be given away at the County’s spring Mulch Madness event.
- Use “LED” holiday lights – They use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights and will help you save money on your energy bills.
- Buy local and organic foods – Shop with local family farmers who grow sustainable meat and produce.
- Buy recycled – Recycle, recycle and recycle; close the loop by purchasing recycled content products.
- Reusable bags – These bags aren’t just made for grocery shopping; take your own reusable bags when you’re out gift shopping instead of using the plastic ones provided by stores.
- Shop online – It saves money, time, gasoline, and all the stress from traveling from store to store.
- Make your own wrapping paper – Get creative and consider wrapping presents in eco-friendly items such as comics from the newspaper, brown grocery bags, or old maps.
- Compost – Don’t throw away those leftover tomatoes and lettuce; toss them in your compost bins, or backyard compost pile. If you have don’t have one, it’s easy to create your own!
- Carpool – Hitch a ride when going to family gatherings, shopping or any other location. Carpooling helps you save on gas and helps protect our planet.
- Holiday cards and E-cards – Look for cards made from recycled paper, or recycle the cards that you have received. To save money, think of sending an electronic card through e-mail.
- Reuse – Before throwing out wrapping paper, bows and garland used to wrap gifts, reuse them for other gift wrapping or find creative ways to reuse them.
- Donate – This time of the year when you are expecting new things is a great time to get rid of things that you no longer need. Consider donating to a local charity or thrift store.
- Cooking oil – Properly dispose or recycle your leftover cooking grease or oil making sure not to dispose it down your kitchen or other drains. County residents can dispose large quantities at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for free.
- Mail – With the holidays come unwanted catalogs and other mail. Stop them by calling the 1-800 number listed on the mailing and ask to be removed to prevent any future mailers or register on the national do not mail list.
- Cut Tree – Purchase, plant or donate live trees which are a more sustainable choice over plastic Christmas trees.
- Eco–Décor – When planning a holiday party, avoid streamers, balloons and other decorations for one-time use. Create centerpieces from natural or sustainable materials that you already own.
- Zero Waste – Consider adopting a zero waste lifestyle that includes ditching food packaging and purchasing bulk items where you can use your own reusable containers.
- Energy Efficient Appliances – Shop for home or office electronic products with the Energy Star label. Replacing old items with energy-efficient models can save over 25 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and save you money on your energy bills.
- Celebrating Hanukkah/Kwanza – Use an inherited or second-hand menorah or kinara to celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanza to give your holiday a more special meaning. Also, use eco-friendly soy candles or beeswax candles for a health-friendly, planet-friendly option. Compost your Kwanza mazao and vibunzi.
- Carbon Pet Paws – Don’t forget about your four-legged friends during the holiday season. Skip the litter and look for more eco-friendly options made from recycled newspapers, hemp or straw. Use pet cleaning products made from plant-based essential oils to reduce the impact on the planet. And always remember to scoop your pet’s poop! Using a biodegradable poop bag instead of a plastic bag sent to the landfill is an important step when it comes to adopting a more eco-friendly pet practice.
For more information on recycling and other waste management tips, contact DoE’s Waste Management Division at 301-883-4748.
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