Make your white Christmas “greener” by following some of these environmentally friendly holiday season tips!

Shop and ship online. For those of you who are planning to shop, why not shop green? If you are buying gifts for family members out of town, skip a step and have their gift sent directly to their doorstep.

BYOB reusable shopping bags. The very first item you need for shopping is a reusable shopping bag. Bringing your own bag when you go shopping can have a huge impact on our environment.

Choose recyclable holiday cards. Make sure your holiday cards can easily be recycled, look for cards without any non-paper embellishments like foil or ribbon. Another great option is to use e-cards!

Gift wrapping “green”. Unfortunately, wrapping paper is high in clay content and low in paper content which makes it difficult to recycle. There are all kinds of ways to wrap holiday gifts without using up and throwing out new wrapping paper each year. Get creative and choose reused/reusable alternatives such as newspapers, flyers, posters, fabric, reusable paper or cloth gift bags. Better yet, put your gifts in reusable shopping bags your family can use later.

Use LED holiday lights. LED lights use 80% less energy than traditional incandescent holiday lights and can last up to 10 times longer.

Use real plates not paper or plastic. No one likes to spend time cleaning up so it’s tempting to use paper and plastic plates and utensils during the holidays. If your goal is to have a greener season, then there’s no time like the holidays to pull out your nice dishes and silverware.

Remember, if it’s made out of plastic, glass, paper, cardboard or metal it can probably go in your blue box. Here is a list of common holiday products and what you should do with them:

Bows: Reuse if possible, if not, trash.

Blister packaging: Hard-to-open containers around consumer products you usually need scissors to open, recycle.

Cardboard: Flatten and then recycle.

Catalogs, envelopes and flyers: Recycle.

Christmas trees and wreaths, real: Remove everything from the tree, including the stand and metal frame from wreath, and contact your municipality for drop-off locations.

Christmas trees and wreaths, artificial: Reuse or donate.

Electronics: Recycle your old electronics through the EPRA program. Visit for a list of drop-off locations.

Foam packing peanuts: Reuse. Contact local second hand stores or offer them online for someone to use when moving, otherwise, trash.

Food: Food scraps belong in your compost bin. If you don’t compost, toss the rest in the trash.

Gift bags, mesh, cellophane: Reuse, or trash.

Gift bags, cloth: Reuse or donate to a second hand store.

Gift bags, paper: Recycle.

Gift boxes, cardboard: Reuse, or flatten and recycle.

Gift tags, stickers: Trash.

Greeting cards: Recycle.

Pie plate, foil: Trash.

Ribbon: Reuse if possible. If not, trash.

String lights: Trash.

Styrofoam packaging: Trash.

Tinsel: Trash.

Wrapping material, Mylar or cellophane: Reuse if possible otherwise, trash.

Wrapping paper: If the paper came from a tree, recycle.

Wrapping paper, foil lined: Trash, not recyclable.

By making a few simple changes to your holiday festivities, you can reduce the amount of waste your family produces this year. Whatever is on your agenda for this holiday season, always think of ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

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