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Dreaming of a "Green" Christmas

December 11, 2006

Portland, OR - Lights are twinkling on houses across Oregon, presents are being wrapped and the holidays are underway. With just a little effort, it's easy to cut back on waste and litter from these holiday traditions. Sierra Magazine's Lifestyle Editor Jennifer Hattam says one of the easiest ways to "green up" your holidays is to update your lights with light-emitting diodes, commonly known as "LEDs."

"Buy LED holiday lights; they look just like regular lights, but they use 80 to 90 percent less energy. That can save up to $50 on your energy bill."

Hattam says creative wrapping can also make a big difference. She suggests wrapping kids' gifts in the comic section from the newspaper, or using children's artwork for that gift for grandma. Maps and sheet music work well, too.

"Regular wrapping paper is usually not made out of recycled materials and often can't be recycled. If every family wrapped just three gifts in this more environmentally friendly way, it could save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields."

Hattam says after the holidays are over, remember to recycle the Christmas tree. She says 10 million trees end up in landfills each year, when many local governments collect the trees, and shred them for use as mulch in parks and along roadways.

More tips are available online, and most will save money as well as saving the planet, at www.sierraclub.org.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR