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Joy to the world, and help the planet – You can reduce your impact on the planet this holiday season

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on December 19, 2018 with No Comments

The holidays are upon us! Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, American household waste increases by more than 25 percent?

Trash cans full of holiday food waste, shopping bags, bows and ribbons, packaging, and wrapping paper contribute an additional one million tons a week to our landfills.

You can help prevent this by considering the environmental impacts of the things you buy. Remember to Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

Here are a few ways you can reduce your impact on the planet and green your holidays up a bit.

  1. Try to buy items with minimal packaging that will ultimately create little or no waste.
  2. Consider purchasing products made with recycled content. By doing so, you are helping to increase the demand for recycled materials by closing the loop. In addition, check labels and make sure the products you buy can ultimately be recycled at the end of their useful lives!
  3. When buying gifts, consider the durability of a product. Items that wear out quickly create waste and end up costing more money.
  4. Avoid gift wrapping and use gift bags or something that can be reused, like a scarf or blanket or another present you are giving them. Wrap gifts in old newspaper or comics. Save old wrapping paper, boxes and bags, and reuse them for future gifts. Try wrapping gifts without using gift boxes.
  5. Did you know wrapping paper is recyclable? That’s right, so make sure it ends up in your curbside recycling when it’s all said and done; except the shiny “foil” stuff though. That needs to go in the trash. Are bows even necessary? Bows can be reused, but many are used one time and end up in the trash. Tissue paper also is not recyclable curbside.
  6. Make your presents! Are you great at a particular craft? Baking? Your homemade gift is sure to be unique and enjoyed!
  7. Bring your cloth grocery bags with you as you do your Christmas shopping to reduce the use and waste of plastic and paper bags.
  8. If you receive gifts that replace old items, take those old items and donate them to charity. If those old items must be discarded, identify a recycling program in your area that will take those items. For instance, old electronicsand household batteriescan be recycled! Clothing can be recycled! Call your solid waste district to learn more!
  9. When hosting holiday parties, be careful not to buy more food than will be consumed. Be sure to compost whatever leftover food you can.
  10. Reduce waste by using cloth napkins and reusable dishes, glasses and silverware. Avoid disposables whenever possible. Remember, Solo cups are not recyclable curbside.
  11. Buy holiday greeting cards made from recycled paper and consider substituting postcards for cards so you don’t need envelopes. Photo cards can become keepsakes to the addressee. Even better, send e-cards or create a family video that you can send via e-mail. Send the holiday cards you receive to St. Jude’s Ranch for Childrenand give them a second life!
  12. If you intend to purchase a live tree this year, try to buy an organic tree to reduce the use of chemicals. When you’re done with it, be sure it is recycled after the New Year when it can become wood chips and compost for 2019 gardens. Bring your old wreaths and other organic holiday waste to the public compost sites in Porter County also. If you have old fake trees that you’d like to get rid of, donate them to charity so others who can’t afford them may have Christmas trees.
  13. Carpool to Christmas parties and family gatherings to save fuel, create fewer emissions and save vehicles from wear and tear.
  14. Give the gift of experience and avoid purchasing products in the first place. Gift certificates for movies, dinner, classes, programs, golf and entertainment all make great gifts. Find out what people’s interests are and be creative! Gift cards are not recyclable curbside; you must throw them in your trash.
  15. Recycle old Christmas lights, but not curbside. Electronics in Northwest Indiana are recyclable, but you have to take them somewhere. In Porter County, here are some options.
  16. Does your gift need batteries? Provide rechargeable batteries so your loved one doesn’t need to constantly purchase batteries. Provide two sets, so one set can be charging what the other set is in use. All batteries can be recycled, but not curbside. Find out more from your solid waste management district.
  17. Planning a holiday bash? Borrow our event recycling containersto easily collect bottles and cans for recycling. It’s a FREE service available to anyone planning an event in Porter County. No event is too small!

If you have any questions about reducing your holiday waste, don’t forget that your county solid waste district can be a great resource for you. Contact them to learn more about how you can be a better steward of the planet:

Porter County: 219-465-3694, info@PorterCountyRecycling.org
Lake County: 219-769-3820, www.lcswmd.com
LaPorte County: 219-326-0014, www.solidwastedistrict.comsgeeburns@solidwastedistrict.com

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