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Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Holidays

Shop for holiday gifts that don’t require batteries

Nearly 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holidays. Eventually, worn out batteries end up in the landfill where they leach toxic metals into the soil and groundwater. You can help keep batteries from going to the landfill by choosing holiday gifts that don’t require batteries. If you do buy gifts that require batteries, give rechargeable batteries.

Wrap presents in gift bags

Once you tear the wrapping paper off of a holiday gift, it ends up in the recycle bin but gift bags can be used over and over again. Look for gift bags made with recycled content or purchase plain paper bags and decorate them yourself with recycled holiday cards. If every family in the U.S. reused two feet of holiday ribbon, it would save 38,000 miles of ribbon – enough to tie a bow around the entire planet.

Recycle your Christmas tree

After the holidays are over, don’t put your Christmas tree at the curb. Instead of taking up space in the landfill, trees can be ground into woodchips and used to mulch your garden or prevent erosion at a local watershed. Go to www.earth911.org and enter your zip code to find out where to have your Christmas tree recycled.

Jodi Helmer is the author of The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference (Alpha, 2008). Visit her online at www.green-year.com.

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