News Release 496
Department offers tips for keeping the holidays "green"
Volume 37-496 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Renee Bungart
JEFFERSON CITY, MO, DEC. 22, 2009 -- The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day typically generates the largest amount of waste during the year. The Department of Natural Resources offers simple, inexpensive ways to keep waste at a minimum and conserve resources and energy this holiday season.
To keep your holidays green, you can do a few things differently this year:
- Before you begin your holiday travels be sure to check your tires for proper inflation to maximize your gas mileage and don't forget to carpool. Not only are you spending quality time with friends and family, but you're saving energy too. If you are traveling by plane, use online ticketing to reduce paper use and look for non-stop tickets when possible to help conserve fuel, and use mass transit at your destination instead of renting a car.
- Other gifts are virtually waste-free, such as tickets to a movie or sporting event, or gift cards to the recipient's favorite store. Visit antique stores, flea markets and thrift shops to find a truly "unique" one-of-a-kind gift. For every piece of clothing you purchase or receive, consider donating an article of clothing to a local charitable organization.
- Buy rechargeable batteries to go with new electronic toys. Information on recycling of rechargeable batteries is available on www.rbrc.org. Collection sites for used batteries are often available at Wal-Mart, Radio Shack, Target, Sears, Black and Decker, Best Buy, Circuit City and Home Depot. To save gasoline, call your local retailer before you make the trip to determine if the service is available.
- Reuse holiday wrapping from last year or color in the comics in your newspaper for wrapping gifts. Put gifts in decorative tins or boxes instead of throwaway wrapping materials. Use and reuse decorative gift bags year after year to reduce waste.
- Use reusable plates and flatware for large holiday gatherings. Doing the dishes can be another family event that gets done a little bit quicker when more hands are involved.
- Invest in a roasting pan that will last several years rather than an aluminum pan that will be thrown away after each use. Send leftovers home with friends and family or start a composting bin to avoid throwing away table scraps.
- Unplugging holiday lights before going to bed, or setting them on a timer to turn off at a certain time each night will help conserve energy. Purchase LED lights that use less energy. String popcorn around your tree and then place it in your yard afterward for the birds to munch on.
- Create paper snowflakes from paper you would normally discard. Crafts made with cardboard, popsicle sticks, old calendar photos and old holiday cards make fun, inexpensive activities for kids and adults alike.
- Recycle your Christmas tree. The most popular method is chipping the tree to be used for mulch, but it could also be turned into a fish or wildlife habitat. The Department of Natural Resources has a fact sheet available on proper disposal of Christmas trees on its website at www.dnr.mo.gov/pubs/pub184.pdf. To compensate for the harvest of your Christmas tree, arrange to plant a new tree next spring. Artificial trees are another way to decorate and last for several years.
- If you or your family receive new electronics including computers, printers, TVs, hand-held devices and cell phones and are not sure what to do with the old ones, you may be able to recycle them. For a list of electronics recyclers registered with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, visit the E-cycle Missouri website at www.e-cyclemo.org or call 800-361-4827.
With just a little creativity, you can help alleviate the year-end bulge in our landfills. Have a fun, safe and green holiday season!
For more information on recycling, reuse and composting, contact the department's Solid Waste Management Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-5401, or visit our website at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/GreenTips.htm.