Go green this holiday season. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we generate an additional one million tons of household waste.
“That’s a 25 percent increase in trash that is taken to landfills over the holidays,” said ‘Santa’ Paul Braasch, director of Clermont County’s Office of Environmental Quality. “I’d like to encourage everyone to reduce holiday waste by going green. It’s easier than you might think.”
He said one way to start greening your holiday season is to take reusable bags with you when you go shopping and you won’t need all those individual plastic bags.
“I like to reuse paper from the comics, even old blueprints for my toy shop as gift wrapping paper,” said ‘Santa’ Paul. This is typically the most popular time of the year to send greeting cards, according to card maker Hallmark.
“There are lots of ways to recycle holiday cards. I tear the front page off and use it for a postcard the next year! “ he said. “You can also use holiday cards for gift tags and even ornaments on your tree.”
Braasch said when trimming the tree, consider using energy efficient LED (light emitting diode) lights.
“These lights can use up to 33 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts and they last up to 10 times longer,” he said.
The jolly environmentally aware Santa said that he even reuses gift bows each year.
“Recycling is not only good for the environment it’s good for keeping more green in your wallet. Mrs. Claus likes that,” said Braasch, adding a hearty laugh that sounded a lot like ho, ho, ho.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, over 30 million real trees are sold across North America each year.
“You don’t have to send your tree to a landfill after the holidays,” ‘Santa’ Paul said. “Check the Clermont website www.oeq.net for a list of curbside recycling opportunities. Chippings from mulched trees can be reused to mulch trees and hiking trails. The trees can also be recycled as erosion barriers or even wildlife habitats.”
He reminds you to remove all ornaments from the tree, including tinsel, before recycling. “Don’t let the Grinch trash your holidays,” he added, with a twinkle in his eye. Watch an interview with Santa about having a green holiday season at www.clermontcountyohio.gov/video1216santa.aspx.