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Make the holiday season greener by reducing, reusing and recycling

By taking a few simple steps to reduce, reuse and recycle, you can make the holiday season a little greener without losing any holiday cheer

VANCOUVER — American household waste increases by more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, contributing an additional 1 million tons per week to landfills.

But by taking a few simple steps to reduce, reuse and recycle, you can make the holiday season a little greener without losing any holiday cheer.

Before the holiday parties and gift-giving begins:

  • Send holiday e-cards rather than mailing paper cards. Or make sure the paper cards you buy have recycled content and are recyclable. Recycle holiday cards you receive.
  • Give experiences, time or talent as gifts. Consider gift cards to restaurants or tickets to a sporting event. Take someone to a play or teach them how to play an instrument. Make a charitable donation in the recipient’s name or give a museum membership.
  • Give home-baked goodies in reusable containers, such as holiday tins or jars.
  • Take reusable bags on your shopping trips.
  • Reuse holiday decorations or trade decor with a friend. Shop at thrift stores for new-to-you decorations.
  • Wrap gifts in reusable bags or use old maps, fabric scraps or newspaper rather than purchasing wrapping paper.
  • Plan your holiday meals to avoid over-buying food. Send guests home with leftovers in reusable containers, and compost your food scraps.

After the holiday gatherings:

  • Save gift bags, tissue paper, bows and ribbons to reuse next year. Recycle wrapping paper (not foil-covered paper) and tissue paper that cannot be reused.
  • Take inventory of things you no longer use and donate old toys and clothing to thrift stores.
  • E-cycle your old electronic devices. Search www.recyclingA-Z.com for electronic recycling drop-off locations.
  • Take block foam to a drop-off site for recycling. Search www.recyclingA-Z.com for locations.
  • Use rechargeable batteries to power new toys. They greatly reduce the number of batteries thrown into the landfill. Search www.recyclingA-Z.com for household battery disposal options.

For more holiday waste-reduction tips, visit the Clark County Green Neighbors website.

“Waste-reduction efforts don’t need to end with the holiday season,” said Sally Fisher, program coordinator with Clark County Public Health. “Make your New Year’s resolution to practice the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – every day.”

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