Friday, December 18, 2009

Seeing Green This Holiday

Being frugal isn't just about saving money, it's also about being resourceful and finding new ways to use old items you may already have hanging around the house. 

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans take an additional 25% of waste to the curb. That amounts to more than 25 million tons of trash for the holiday season alone!

RecycleBank, a recycling rewards program, has come up with some tips for saving a little green all around  this holiday season.

How to Trim Your Holiday Waste-Line:
  • BYOB. Bring your own (shopping) bag whenever you hit up the grocery store to stock up on holiday treats.
  • Send e-cards. 2.7 million holiday cards are sent across the country— enough to fill an entire football field 10 stories high! Sending a card electronically will reduce waste and save on postage!
  • Avoid gift-wrap. Get creative and decorate gift boxes with stickers and markers. If it needs to be wrapped the comics pages make for great wrap for kids (and adults!).
  • Cut back. Decide what catalogs you want, and rid yourself of the rest.
  • Opt out of all junk mail lists. Sign up at, they’ll stop most direct mail including advertisements, circulars, pre-approved credit card and mortgage offers, sweepstakes and other mailers. They’ll even plant five trees in your honor for just signing up.
  • Reuse. For shipping, use real popped corn (no butter) to protect fragile items, and tell your gift recipient to feed the birds once opened. Donate any styrofoam peanuts to your local packaging store.
  • Recharge. Rechargeable batteries and a charger are better choices to power those electronic goodies.
  • Compost. Compost your trees and wreathes or buy a tree with roots, and transplant it. Don't know what to get someone? Plant a tree in their honor.
  • Get crafty. Go homemade with cookies, funky vinegars in saved wine bottles, or hand-knitted scarves and mittens.
  • Give the gift of an experience. Skip packaging altogether with gifts of massage, sporting events, babysitting, dog walking or tickets to the museum. Always think about the packaging! If you can't recycle it, buy something else instead.
  • Recycle lights. Holiday lights all in a bunch? will accept your old, incandescent holiday lights, which will then be recycled. Be sure to ask neighbors and friends if they want to recycle their lights as well. You can reduce waste and shipping costs by sending all lights in one package.
  •  Donate. Did you get some great new things? Appliances, clothes, gadgets, cookware? Chances are that you have some “less-new things” that would make a lot of people pretty happy. Donate them to your favorite charity or non-profit.

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