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Students Develop Website on How to Keep Holidays ‘Green’

giftwrap

Many presents can be wrapped with household materials such as posters, bags and children's artwork. Gift wrapping can also be done with recyclable items including comics, newspapers, magazines and maps.

Want to know how to how to have a green and cost-friendly holiday season? Well, two students at the University of California, San Diego have taken it upon themselves to provide tips on how to keep the holiday spirit while making simple changes to help protect our environment and save money.

“Dreaming of a Green Christmas,” is a user-friendly website that was created by Rashelle Nagata and Valerie Juguilon for their environmental science class. The course examines global and regional environmental issues and evaluates the scientific basis for environmental policy options.

“Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving, not just to one another, but back to nature and our environment,” said Nagata. “We hope to spread the word about simple actions that anyone could do to save our limited resources and promote a more sustainable future.”

holiday lights

Buying light-emitting diode (LED) lights is bright choice for many reasons. They're more energy and cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, durable, safer and have the same positive features as incandescent lights.

The website outlines ways to have a sustainable holiday season by highlighting practices to reuse, recycle or compost items such as gift wrap, tree ornaments, holiday lights and left-over holiday eats.

There are many advantages to having a “Green Christmas,” said Juguilon. “With this website, we hope to reach out to a wide audience,” she added. “What’s been interesting is we found that if people make small changes to their habits during the holidays, they can save money and the environment!”

Green Holiday Tips include:

  • Ornaments––Although manufacturing new ornaments provides more employment opportunities, many ornaments are made out of materials that people don’t know how to properly recycle.  However, homemade ornaments are as sentimental as they are easy to make. Ornaments can be made with recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard and old Christmas wrapping paper. And house household items such old CD’s, clothespins, old light bulbs, puzzle pieces and pine cones can be used to make ornaments.
  • Gift wrapping­­––Although a gift-wrapped present brings a smile to your face, most aren’t made with recyclable materials. However, many presents can be wrapped with household materials such as posters, bags and children’s artwork. Gift wrapping can also be done with recyclable items including comics, newspapers, magazines and maps.
  • Toys––Buying new toys is a popular holiday tradition; however over time toys get thrown away. Yet, your trash can be someone else’s treasure. Donating toys is a great way to give back to those less fortunate and to the environment. Also, hand-me-down toys kept within a family for generations can have more sentimental value and are cost-effective as well.
  • Old electronics­­––Electronics often make great holiday gifts, but when part of an electronic device breaks, most people throw them away and purchase a whole brand new device. The problem is that each year, 130 million cell phones are thrown out, increasing landfill buildup. The solution is to dispose electronics properly at an appropriate disposal site near you.
  • Leftovers––A jolly holiday dinner is a revered tradition; however with big gatherings, families and friends tend to prepare food in excess and throwaway all leftovers into the garbage. However, nutrients from leftovers don’t have to go to waste. Leftover cookbooks offer recipes that will spice up your food scraps to make a whole new meal. In addition, home compost bins are available at nurseries or hardware stores near you. Composting is nature’s process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost.
  • Lights––Holiday lights add sparkle to festive celebrations, but statistics show that electricity goes up 27 percent from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. But even Clark Griswold can conserve electricity during the holiday season. Buying light-emitting diode (LED) lights is bright choice for many reasons.  They’re more energy and cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, durable, safer and have the same positive features as incandescent lights (containing a variety of sizes, vibrant colors and special effects).