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What Can I Do?

Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010

While the holidays are a time of cooking, gift-giving, and general merry-making, it is also a time of excess. During the holidays, Americans generate an extra one million tons of waste per week. There are many things you can do to reduce your waste while still enjoying the holiday season to its fullest.

Wads of crumpled wrapping paper end up in the garbage after Christmas morning. Meticulously unwrapping presents to reuse the paper later can be tedious. Instead reduce your wrapping paper consumption by wrapping gifts with scraps of fabric. Wrapping with fabric gives a present that special je ne sais quois quality that stands out amidst the rest of the present pile. Find fabric around the house or check out fabric stores or funky costume shops. These stores usually have scrap bins at a reduced price.

Another creative gift wrapping method is to reuse a shoe box or glass jar as a present container. You can decorate and personalize the box or jar so it becomes part of the present.

Don't forget to recycle your Christmas Tree after the big day. Go to to search for a recycling center near you that takes Christmas Trees.

Show your respect for those less fortunate this season and give an alternative gift by donating to an environmental justice organization like the Center on Race, Poverty, & the Environment. Or give a family an animal through organizations like the Heifer Project.

Compiled by Molly Kagel, '11, Sustainability Intern.

Tags: Take Action



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