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5 Ways to enjoy a greener and healthier Holiday season

According to the ULS Report, beginning with Thanksgiving through New Year’s, we throw away 25% more trash than any other time of the year.

Dreaming of a Green Christmas
Jim Jurica

According to Stanford University, when all the trash from the packaging, wrapping paper, plastic plates and utensils, foodstuffs are added up, the extra waste results millions of extra tons of trash per week. Estimates are that as much as 25 million tons of trash are added in this six week period.

With all the rushing around during the holiday season, it is easy to slip-up and not work as hard to reduce the unnecessary forms of waste we deal with on a daily basis.

One of the many benefits of adhering to holiday traditions is that many traditions are also greener than the alternatives, which leads to our five recommendations.

  • Bring out your best dishes, the good stuff, and ditch the plastic. No doubt single use disposables are informal and convenient, but they are also a more expensive way of entertaining. Consider the energy and cost savings by not adding to the millions of pounds of plastic plates, cups, and utensils that end up in landfills having been used for an hour of less.
  • If you must use plastic, have separate collection baskets set up and designated for plastic trash and paper trash. Let your guests know your eco-reasons for the extra efforts. You may be surprised how many of your friends and relatives will support your greener choices.
  • Don't forget your pets can unintentionally get themselves into trouble during the holidays. Plants like Christmas cactus, poinsettias, mistletoe, amaryllis are poisonous to cats and dogs. Also beware of chocolate, most nuts, raisins, nutmeg; all are found in abundance this time of year. Dogster has a complete list of poisonous plants, foods, and remedies pet owners should review.

  • Consider that the best gifts are those of giving your time to others in their time of need during the holidays. Holiday Recycling has a list of suggestions as to the best ways to accomplish this. Take the Simplify the Holidays challenge.

  • Which tree is best? There are choices to be made when deciding which holiday tree is best. Whether your choice is an artificial tree or a live tree, there are no perfect choices. Each type of tree has its green pluses and minuses. Live trees grown on a tree farm are good for the environment and the economy. You might also consider buying a tree small enough for an inside pot which can be planted outside once it is large enough.

Living a greener is a life style choice that takes a little planning. It is much easier to stress out without a plan in place, so take the time to integrate your greener choices into the holidays. Simply put, plan a little more and stress a lot less.

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