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‘Tis the Season to be Green

2011 December 13

By Elias Rodriguez 

Ho-Ho-Ho! The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is up and New York City is bustling with “busy sidewalks, city sidewalks” filled with holiday cheer! The Big Apple during the holidays is right up there with Philadelphia on July 4th and Mexico on Cinco de Mayo. I mean, if holiday shopping is your thing, NYC is the epicenter of consumerism. It is more blessed to give than to receive, for sure, but since we are on the subject of shopping, let’s pause for a Green idea that will not break your budget. 

Rockefeller Christmas Tree

An enormous amount of consumer household waste ends up in landfills each year. EPA states that the volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – about 1 million extra tons. Have you noticed how much material it takes to keep that Barbie doll looking poised and cute until it’s time to unwrap the little darling? 

As a parent who works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, my own To Do list is rather lengthy. What toys require batteries and how do I plan to properly dispose of the old batteries? Which baubles have minimal packaging and how do I sort the waste materials that can be recycled. How can I re-use gift wrapping paper and those garish holiday gift bags? If I have any big ticket items to purchase, have I searched for the ENERGY STAR seal of approval to identify energy efficient products? If you celebrate the holidays with a tree, check with your local solid waste department and see what the plan is to place it curbside or bring it to the designated collection area for the mulch machine!

Reducing waste during the holiday season begins with you. Happy Holidays to all!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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