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Are Your Christmas Traditions Bad for the Planet?

by Eva Martinez
(California, USA)

Christmas festivities are fun because loved ones get to enjoy traditions not commonly practiced throughout the year, including exchanging gifts, baking holiday goodies, and decorating the home. Have you ever thought about how the activities of Christmas may be bad for the planet? Consider these questions on the sustainability of your Christmas traditions

1. What do you do with your Christmas tree?

Your options include recycling the Christmas tree by leaving it i n a tree disposal bag for the yard waste truck and planting the tree in your yard. Another option is to use a wood chipper to turn the Christmas tree intoyard mulch.

2. What do you do with broken ornaments?

Broken ornaments such as shattered glass bulbs should not be disposed of in regular trash. You might be able to find a local business that recycles glass. It can be melted down and used again. Another consideration is that putting glass in trash bags is dangerous because it can cut through the bag and injure the handler of the trash.

3. What do you do with gift wrapping and packaging?

If you do not reuse gift packaging in your home, find a company that recycles special paper varieties. Gift wrap may not be accepted by the weekly recycling truck.

4. Do you leave Christmas lights on all night?

Leaving Christmas lights on throughout the night is costly and poses a fire threat to your household. If you insist on putting up lights, you can plan how many to use in your light display. Be sure to turn off the lights before you go to sleep.

5. Do you throw away leftovers from Christmas parties and the holiday meal?

If you are not going to use leftover food, you can add it to your composting pile or burn food scraps in the fireplace. Throwing away food in the trash contributes to more waste for burial in the landfill.

Many byproducts of the holidays can be recycled responsibly instead of being dumped in the garbage. You can search online for other green living tips for a sustainable planet. Happy holidays!

Updated: August 9, 2013 — 4:15 pm

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