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Going green for the holidays

Posted: November 28, 2008 10:15 p.m.
Updated: November 29, 2008 4:55 a.m.

The volume of household waste in the United States increases about 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But local residents can do their part to reduce the amount of waste generated during the holiday season by thinking of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

"All the great things that go along with the holidays, you have the opportunity to do these little things that add up," said Travis Lange, environmental services manager for the city, about ways to reduce and reuse during the holiday season.

When it comes to decorating their homes, Lange suggests residents look for LED lights because they use less energy and, for the most part, last longer.

LED outdoor holiday lights use 1/50th of the electricity of conventional lights and last 20 to 30 years, according to the EPA.

Also, set lights to a timer to prevent them from staying on all night or all day.

Going green also works when holiday shopping.

"When you're shopping, you can find products that have minimal packaging," Lange said.

Some mailing centers allow shoppers to drop off foam peanuts from mailed presents and merchandise for recycling.

Residents can even go green when planning their holiday meals by buying groceries from local farmers' markets.

After serving a Thanksgiving meal, instead of tossing leftovers, check to see if the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry accepts remaining canned goods.

The holiday season typically brings the latest electronic gifts. But before tossing out the old computers, televisions and cell phones, check to see if they can be recycled, Lange said.

Santa Clarita residents can use the city's curbside recycling service, Lange said.

Lange also recommends resident use rechargeable batteries and throw batteries away at designated areas like the boxes at local libraries and City Hall.

Nevertheless, while not every go-green tip can be used for the holidays, residents can still implement many of the ideas even after the presents have been opened.

"So much of this stuff is year-round," Lange said.


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