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KLB: Eco-friendly holiday tips
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell. - photo by Denise Etheridge

The holiday season is here — it’s Christmas! I found some great ideas for holiday waste prevention and holiday recycling. I was shocked to discover that Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. 

The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage or about 1 million extra tons per week! This was according to https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions. 

If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just three presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. 

The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field ten stories high. 

If we each sent one card less or sent a recycle card, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

Some other eco-friendly tips that are good to practice not just during the holiday’s but throughout the year also:

Holiday cards can be REUSED! You can recuse cards as next year’s gift tags or place-setting cards. RECYCLE in curbside bins and drop-off centers except cards embossed with foil or other non-paper material. 

Recycle. If you aren’t in the habit, start today and encourage others to do the same. Recycling not only saves natural resources but also saves energy!

Remember the other important “Rs” — Reduce and Reuse. Help to lessen the amount of waste by buying items that use little or no packaging, or “buying in bulk” which reduces unnecessary and excessive packaging; and, find ways to use items over and over again (e.g., refilling your empty water bottles).

Stopping junk mail is a great way to reduce unwanted mail. The holidays can bring an overflow of catalogs and other mail asking you to buy, buy, buy. But you can stop it! As soon as you receive an unwanted publication, call the 1-800 number and ask to be removed from their list.

Buy recycled-content products. Remember to “look for it, ask for it.” Resolve to “buy green” by purchasing at least one recycled-content product regularly, such as paper towels or computer paper that is made with post-consumer content.

Free your home from toxins. Don’t flush paints, solvents, or chemicals down the toilet. Toilet bowl deodorizers, cleaning solutions with lye and many spot removers contain harmful solvents. Baking soda and vinegar substitute as great all-purpose cleaners. A wide variety of non-toxic cleaners, such as Seventh Generation, can be found at stores like Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s. Cut down on pesticides and fertilizers in your garden and limit what you wash into rivers, bays and oceans.

Re-charge it! Every year, more than 15 billion batteries are produced worldwide. Many are alkaline batteries that are thrown out after just one use. Replace your alkaline batteries with rechargeable ones. Newer models can charge in as little as 15 minutes!

Spare the air. Resolve to minimize using your car whenever possible. Use public transportation, carpool or bicycle once or twice a week for more exercise and cleaner air.

Learn to compost. Convert yard clippings and vegetable peelings into nature’s fertilizer. Your garden will love you for it. Many cities and counties offer composting workshops and free or discounted compost bins.

See the great outdoors. Whether city, county, regional, or state — visit Georgia’s world-class parks. Park volunteer or docent opportunities and special programs geared to kids represent ways to contribute to your community and enjoy nature at the same time. 

As we spend time this holiday season with our family and friends, remember that we have one planet and it’s up to us to take care of it. Have a Happy and Safe Holiday and remember to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!


For information on recycling or KLB, you can contact Keep Liberty Beautiful by calling (912) 880-4888 or email klcb@libertycountyga.com.  

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