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Saving Green By Going Green This Holiday Season



Keep Louisiana Beautiful’s recent Annual Recycling Report found a statewide recycling rate of 6.3 percent.

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Peas, green beans and creamed spinach… that’s about as green as my end-of-year celebrations get, but a growing movement to make the holidays more eco-friendly, and cost-effective, is demonstrating it’s easy going green for the holidays.

“Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year, yet it is often marked by excessive waste and disregard for eco-friendly practices,” said Tricia Farace, Waste Management community relations manager – Gulf Coast Area. “That is why we would like to remind our communities that there are always opportunities to incorporate eco-friendly behaviors, especially when you are celebrating a holiday like Thanksgiving.”

Waste Management is considered the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America, and Farace said starting new green holiday traditions can cut down on waste and keep more green in your pocket. She said seasonal revelers should buy and eat locally-grown food to limit costly shipping and fuel costs and stimulate local economies; use eco-friendly shopping bags because it takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the number of plastic bags the U.S. uses per year; invite your neighbors to share an eco-friendly Thanksgiving to reduce the amount of waste generated through holiday meals; use reusable dishware to reduce waste; and clean green by using non-toxic, biodegradable and other green products.

Smallfootprintfamily.com, that empowers and inspires its readers with the tools and ideas needed to live a simpler, healthier and more sustainable life, found between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day Americans throw away a million extra tons of garbage each week and use more electricity for holiday lights than some countries use in an entire year. The site supports using energy-saving LED holiday lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights and can save up to $50 on seasonal energy costs. A recent U.S. Department of Energy study found at least two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity could be saved in a month if Americans replaced their conventional holiday light strings with LEDs – an action that could power 200,000 homes for a year. 

Keep Louisiana Beautiful’s 2016 Annual Recycling Report shows Louisiana currently has a recycling rate of 6.3 percent. Smallfootprintfamily.com suggests buying a pesticide-free Christmas tree, recycling it when the holidays are over and to recycle old cellphones and tablets to prevent hazardous elements like mercury, cadmium and lead from ending up in local landfills.

Hanukkah celebrants are usually focused on giving gold gelt, in the form of chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil to give to children as gifts, but you can also go green during the eight-day holiday by polishing your menorah with an eco-friendly alternative to silver polish like baking soda. SustainableBabySteps.com, a website dedicated to promoting environmentally safe, simple and sustainable lifestyles, recommends using natural candles made out of beeswax or vegetable oil in your menorah, and while your Hanukkah candles are burning bright, turn off your house lights to save energy. When serving up seasonal treats like potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly donuts (sufganiyot), the site suggests reusing cooking oil as much as possible and never pouring it down your sink drain.

Green is a traditional Christmas color and Todayshomeowner.com, an home improvement authority delivering fresh, original, practical advice to consumers, found several green energy saving tips to put on your holiday list: shop online rather than burn gas driving around searching for Christmas presents; buy gift wrap made from recycled materials; recycle decorations; and save energy by turning down your thermostat when you’re asleep or not at home.

According to The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery’s CalRecycle, if every household reused two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the globe, and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found if an American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.

One of the fastest growing green holiday trends is to ditch giving physical gifts in favor of experiential ones. Smallfootprintfamily.com found gifting someone with tickets to a concert or a sporting event or taking someone on a trip or a drive in the country can minimize the costs and waste associated with shopping and wrapping in favor of sharing quality time with a loved one, engaging in a priceless new experience.

 

 

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Big Easy Biz by Leslie T. Snadowsky

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Leslie T. Snadowsky contributes to Biz New Orleans as a video blogcaster and Biz liaison for WWL/WUPL-TV. She’s contributed to Bloomberg NewsReutersThe Times-PicayuneThe New York Post and The Dallas Morning News, and appeared on CNN’s “Nancy Grace,” and “Jane Velez Mitchell,” and Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” She earned her BA from Newcomb College at Tulane University and her MS in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. As an exhibited and published rock photographer, Leslie enjoys live music and the eclectic culture of New Orleans. 

You can reach Leslie T. Snadowsky directly at Leslie@BizNewOrleans.com.

 

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