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12 Days of Green tips to help residents gift green this season

Waste Management of Southern California Gives Residents Tips for Going Green this Holiday

The holiday season has officially begun and along with good holiday cheer comes a lot of extra waste. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s as compared to any other time of the year. The extra waste amounts to about one million extra tons.

“This holiday season we ask community members to make a commitment to go green using our 12 easy tips,” shared Eloisa Orozco, spokesperson for Waste Management of Southern California. “With a little thought and creativity we can all save money and time while reducing our impact on the environment this year.”

12 Days of Going Green:
1. On the first day of going green, do it yourself (DIY) decorations: Invite family and friends to create and use holiday decorations such as ornaments made from old greeting cards or cookie dough, garlands made from strung popcorn or cranberries, wreaths made from artificial greens and flowers, and potpourri made from kitchen spices such as cinnamon and cloves.
2. On the second day of going green, buy green: Check product labels to determine whether an item is made from recycled materials. Buying recycled encourages manufacturers to make more recycled-content products available.
3. On the third day of going green, wrap green: Consider earth friendly wrapping alternatives. Scarves, handkerchiefs, old maps, newspapers, children’s artwork, repurposed gift bags and reusable containers like cookie tins or baskets all make great packaging. Replace ribbons and bows with natural evergreens, berries, dried flowers and keep them as decorations or compost them after the gifts are unwrapped.
4. On the fourth day of going green, send green cards: This year, send eCards or recycled-content cards. If you send cards in the mail, consider making them by hand with last year’s cards or wrapping paper. If you receive cards from family and friends, make sure you recycle them after the holidays.
5. On the fifth day of going green, gift green: 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 all throughout the year, but it will also benefit the environment.
6. On the sixth day of going green, gift loved ones an experience: Music lessons, concert tickets, museum passes, zoo memberships or even favors like babysitting make great zero waste gifts. Find out the gift recipient’s favorite charity and make a donation in his or her honor, or commit to volunteering time with that organization.
7. On the seventh day of going green, make a plan to carpool: Spend quality time with friends by carpooling to holiday activities or consider taking public transportation to avoid traffic jams.
8. On the eighth day of going green, bring a reusable container: Package dishes for holiday dinners in a reusable container. If the item is a gift, place it on a decorative holiday plate, in a washable kitchen container or wrap it with a holiday towel.
9. On the ninth day of going green, be a green host: When entertaining, use washable utensils, plates, glasses, napkins and table linens. If you don’t already have these items, consider renting rather than purchasing them. If you have leftover food, send it home with your guests or donate it to a local homeless shelter to avoid waste.
10. On the tenth day of going green, love your lights: Set holiday lights on a timer to go off late at night and during the day. This saves energy and makes lights last longer.
11. On the eleventh day of going green, recharge: About 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season, most of which later end up in landfills. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money in the long run.
12. On the twelfth day of going green, recycle: When the holidays are over, be sure to recycle your holiday tree and wreath. Waste Management offers free pick up and drop off in many areas to its customers. Learn all about recycling by visiting http://recycleoftenrecycleright.com/.

With a little imagination and commitment, we can use this holiday season to create new traditions that help preserve the environment, not only for our families, but also for future generations.

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