Think About the Environment this Holiday Season: Holiday tips from EPA’s Regional Administrator

JudithEnck Judith Enck

By Judith Enck

Holiday themed LED lights are a great compromise

Holiday themed LED lights are a great compromise

When I was a kid, growing up in Greene County New York, my beloved father won contests for the large number of lights that he put on our house. I would note that entire power plants had to run in order to keep the Enck family house illuminated, so I’m now doing my penance with LED lights. There really is no excuse to double your electric bill or blow your budget around the holidays, so here are my tips for a more environmentally friendly season.

  • Remember to support local businesses whenever possible
  • Consider a small live indoor tree or plant that can serve as a holiday tree to be decorated year after year.
  • If you opt for a real tree, be sure to compost it after the season is over.
  • Decorate with LED lights and colorful reusable ornaments that don’t require electricity such as (reusable) ribbons.
  • Reuse wrapping paper or use old comics to wrap gifts.
  • Try not to buy unnecessary consumer products. Give experiences instead like tickets to plays or concerts as a way to spend time together.
  • Hosting a big event? Remember to stick to reusable plates and glasses to cut down on unnecessary waste.
  • Plan ahead for meals and parties so you don’t buy more than you need.
  • More tips here.

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section. Best wishes for a wonderful and sustainable holiday season and a very green new year!

This post was originally published to Greening the Apple during the 2011 holiday season.

About the author: Judith Enck is EPA’s Regional Administrator of and a native New Yorker who currently resides in Brooklyn.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Lights, Cameras, Action on Climate

JudithEnck Judith Enck

With the release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the evidence continues to mount that the planet is getting warmer and the time to act is now. Everywhere people are asking what they can do to fight climate change. April 22 is Earth Day and it’s the perfect time for all of us to act on climate.

There are a lot of things that people can do in their daily lives to fight climate change. We can promote clean energy, take public transportation, drive fuel efficient cars and reduce our use of energy. But one of the most simple and effective things we can do is to recycle. Continue reading

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

The Greenest Super Bowl Ever?

JudithEnck Judith Enck

Everything about the Super Bowl is big – the athletes, the media coverage, the prices for hotels. It’s also a big opportunity to help the environment by using as little energy as possible. The NFL and MetLife Stadium in New Jersey have seized the opportunity by making this the greenest Super Bowl ever.

MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and the New York Giants – and host to this year’s Super Bowl – is a model of green design. It is the most energy-efficient football stadium in the US, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.

And EPA has been involved from the very beginning. While the stadium was being built, EPA signed a memorandum of understanding with the stadium’s owner outlining a plan to build and operate the new stadium as a green building.

The Super Bowl wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without food, and the NFL and MetLife Stadium are making sure that leftover food doesn’t go to waste. The NFL plans to donate unused food to local soup kitchens, shelters and churches, which will feed the hungry while keeping food waste from being shipped to landfills and incinerators.

Continue reading

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Small Business Innovation is Mushrooming

JudithEnck Judith Enck

Sometimes I worry that one of the enduring manmade wonders of our time will be the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You know the Garbage Patch – the huge concentration of marine debris (mostly plastics) floating in the Pacific Ocean. It may still be there centuries from now. I wonder if a thousand years from now, tourists will visit the Garbage Patch the way we do the Roman Coliseum or the Pyramids. They’ll take pictures and stand there with their mouths agape wondering “how could they let this happen?”

Personally, I’m hopeful we can reduce the “greatness” of the garbage patch – and solve many of our other waste disposal problems – by reducing packaging or at least making it more sustainable.

Wine packaging

Wine packaging made from mushroom mycelium by Ecovative Design

Continue reading

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.