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Reduce, Reuse and Recycle for a "Green" Christmas

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Monday, December 17, 2018   

INDIANAPOLIS -- The "most wonderful time of the year" is also the most wasteful. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Years Day than any other time of the year.

Whether you are shopping, decorating, cooking or giving a gift, Allyson Mitchell, executive director with the Indiana Recycling Coalition, suggests looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. She added you can encourage others to do the same.

"When we're gathering with friends and families we have an opportunity to have a conversation and share tips and best practices for reducing our waste because of the impact that waste has on our environment," Mitchell said.

She noted cardboard boxes are easier to recycle if they are flattened. With holiday cards, Mitchell recommends being selective about how many you send, or send an electronic greeting instead. And unwanted holiday decorations and lights can be donated instead of tossed into the trash.

With gifts, Mitchell suggests reusing magazines and newspapers, or purchasing recycled paper. You can also put a gift in something that can be reused.

"For example, gift bags can be reused many, many times before they have to be disposed of; also durable, decorative boxes,” she said. “Or get creative in how you wrap items with non-traditional, durable re-usable things, like fabric."

She said Hoosiers should also think about how they can reduce food waste at holiday gatherings, which increases by about 33 percent this time of the year.

"Think ahead of time about two different things. First how many people are going to be there and what is the appropriate amount of food so that you don't have too much food,” Mitchell said. “The second thing you can do is plan for divvying up and bringing home the leftovers. "

The EPA said about 28 billion pounds of food waste is thrown away each holiday season.More information on managing holiday waste is available here.


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