Ideas for a greener holiday season

Much wrapping paper is not recyclable. Instead of Using Wrapping Paper try using brown shipping paper, fabric scraps, reusable bags or even old maps to wrap your packages. You could even use your reusable shopping bags. Get the kids to help you decorate that brown shipping paper. There are lots of ideas online for decorating. Wrapping paper containing glitter or “foil” contain plastics that are not recyclable. Try the “scrunch test” to be sure. Scrunch up your paper, if it scrunches, it can be recycled. If not, it is headed for the landfill.

Most ribbon is not recyclable. Instead of traditional ribbon or bows try using natural string, twine, natural jute, yarn or raffia. Go online and look for eco-friendly ribbon. There are lots of alternatives.

Certain Packing materials are not recyclable. For those long-distance shipping needs consider Instead of Styrofoam peanuts or plastic bubble wrap, try using newspaper, straw, or even old fabric scraps to pack those fragile items. If you are the recipient of a package with those non-recyclable packaging items, please save that nonrecyclable packaging to reuse later. Better yet, shred those private documents and use the shredded paper to protect those fragile items.

When it comes to greening up your house, look outdoors for natural greens. Not only are they environmentally friendly, but they also smell good. Make a natural wreath from items in your yard. No need to buy plastic greenery imitations. Make gathering greens a family event.

Candles are a favorite holiday decorating feature Use sustainable bees wax candles or soy wax (made from soybeans). Most other candles use petroleum-based materials.

 

 Go online and search for a “greener holiday or Christmas.” There are lots of ideas out there and shopping websites that specialize in environmentally friendly holiday products.

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Larry Patterson, Director, Camanche Village, CA:  MS Civil/Transportation Engineering UC Berkeley, BS Civil Engineering University of Texas, private consultant, former Public Works Director and City Manager of San Mateo, recipient of the League’s James L. Martin Award in 2012