Tennessee Offers Tips for Greener Holidays
Americans throw away an estimated 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than at any other time of the year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Partners for Environmental Progress.
With this in mind, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is working with its Pollution Prevention and Keep America Beautiful partners to create greater awareness of these household waste generation patterns, their impacts on natural resources, and the resulting increase in landfill disposal costs.
According to the agency, there are simple steps consumers can take to reduce waste without sacrificing tradition, from giving environmentally friendly gifts to composting Christmas trees after the holidays. These steps can help everyone celebrate the holidays and still treat the Earth with kindness:
–Give consumable gifts such as candles, soap, note cards, or food items, or invite someone over for a home-cooked meal.
–Bring along a cloth bag for holiday shopping instead of accepting plastic or paper store bags.
–Give environmentally friendly gifts such as canvas bags, travel mugs, garden tools, or cloth napkins and linens. Avoid battery-dependent gifts or tools or provide rechargeable batteries.
–Donate money to a cause the recipient cares about.
–Choose well-made classic items such as books, sports equipment, or long-lasting cooking or building tools rather than the trendy items. Think repairable.
–Chip or compost a cut tree after the holiday season is over. Call local public works departments for more information.
–Use a digital camera at holiday events.
–Start a savings account for a child or give stocks or bonds.
–Use light-emitting diode (LED) Christmas lights to decorate the tree.
–Donate unwanted gifts and last year’s gifts the kids have outgrown to charitable organizations.
–Visit a museum or a state park and take in the local sites. During the holidays, take the time to enjoy the attractions in one’s own backyard.