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Keep the holiday season green with these ideas

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'Tis the season when landfills receive thousands of pounds of discarded wrapping paper, packaging and worn out items being replaced by newer versions. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has some suggestions on how to keep your holiday season green and reduce the amount of waste discarded into the landfill.

The DEP encourages shoppers to consider purchasing the most durable product that can be afforded. Doing a bit of research into the quality of the product through consumer reviews or industry studies may reveal one product that will stand the test of time over another, making it a better investment. Very often the less expensive products may appear a better value, however if they wear out faster they will need replacement more often. By purchasing better quality products consumers reduce the number of items discarded in landfills or left unused around the home. Another plus is the recycling content of an item.

When the box states, "Batteries Not Included", consider giving rechargeable batteries and a battery charger along with the gift. The DEP reminds people that recycling used batteries will reduce the potential for landfill contamination. They suggest recycling batteries at retailers such as:

  • Walmart
  • Best Buy
  • Staples
  • Radio Shack

Not only will it cut down on waste in the landfills, but it is a frugal idea to unwrap gifts carefully and save the wrapping paper to be reused the following year. Gift boxes and bows can be saved from year to year, as well. For replacing difficult to recycle tissue paper, the DEP suggests using strips of shopping bags, used wrapping paper or old lace to fill gift bags.

When wrapping gifts, avoid using metallic or foil paper that is not recyclable or reusable. Try finding wrapping paper and cards made from recycled materials or that can be recycled. Be creative in discovering alternative ideas for wrapping gifts. The DEP suggests wrapping gifts in a tool box for a handy man, a length of fabric for someone who sews, or a kitchen towel for someone who enjoys cooking.

A green holiday needn't be boring or appear less festive. Using the ideas the DEP has offered will brighten up the home while ensuring the holiday will be gentle on the environment. For more green tips visit the DEP website.

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