Tips for enjoying a greener holiday season

Thanks to added food waste, packaging, wrapping paper and decorations, household waste increases by 25 percent from Thanksgiving to News Years Day. If you’d like to make your holidays more environmentally friendly, check out Hennepin County’s top five tips for greener decorating, entertaining and gift buying.

  1. Give gifts that conserve natural resources. In addition to buying long-lasting items, consider giving experiences rather than goods. Examples include: ski or park passes, tickets to sport, concert or theater events, music lessons or cooking classes, or memberships to a museum, zoo, gym or golf club. Or, create your own "coupons" good for a home-cooked meal, lawn mowing or another household chore.
  2. Use reusable tableware when entertaining. Reusable dishes, napkins, tablecloths and glasses are greener choices than disposable tableware.
  3. Buy LED holiday lights. Light Emitting Diode lights are more energy efficient and will last longer. And, you’ll save money on your electricity bill.
  4. Recycle. In addition to day-to-day recycling, be sure to make it easy for your holiday party guests to recycle soda cans and bottles. And now, you can recycle old holiday lights as well:

    Holiday lights
    Recycling Association of Minnesota’s Recycle Your Holidays program. The program offers numerous collection sites throughout the Twin Cities, including at the Hennepin County drop-off facilities, Snyder’s Drugstores and the Holidazzle Parade. When you drop lights off to be recycled, please make sure they are not in bags or boxes. Holiday lights and electrical cords will be accepted through mid-January. Strings of holiday lights are disassembled by PPL Industries, and all the parts, including the copper wires and light bulbs, are recycled.
  5. Wrap with the environment in mind. Wrapping paper isn’t recyclable, so try wrapping presents in the comics or sports section of newspaper, old posters, old maps, sheet music, re-useable shopping bags, scarves or dishtowels. Reuse gift wrap bows and gift bags.

View full four-page brochure (pdf)

Published Nov. 30, 2009