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U.S. EPA Highlights Ways Everyone Can “Go Green” during the Holidays / Easy and effective ways to reduce and reuse

Release Date: 11/24/2008
Contact Information: Northern California: Wendy Chavez, (415) 947-4282, Central California: Mary Simms (415) 947-4270, Arizona/Nevada: Margot Perez-Sullivan (415) 947-4149, Southern California: Francisco Arcaute (213) 244-1815, Hawaii/Pacific Islands: Dean Higuchi (808) 541-2711,

SAN FRANCISCO – Most people generate more trash than normal during the holidays. In fact, the volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – that’s about 1 million extra tons.
But, you don’t have to let the holidays affect the environment! There are easy and effective ways to minimize holiday waste. Here are some holiday tips anyone can employ to reduce their impact on the environment this holiday season:

    • Avoid using disposable dishes and utensils when entertaining friends and family, and if you must use them, buy them made from recycled or compostable material. Remember to place easily identifiable recycling and compost containers at your celebration so guests can recycle soda cans, bottles, and paper products, and compost food scraps.
    • Send e-invitations for all holiday celebrations—saving paper, time and postage.
    • Thousands of paper and plastic shopping bags end up in landfills every year. Tell store clerks you don't need a bag for small or oversized purchases.
    • Extend the useful life of gifts: Before tossing the old to make room for the new—check to see if you can donate it, reuse it, or recycle it.
    • Travel efficiently: Map your shopping route to make a number of stops in one trip. Take public transportation, or hitch a ride with a friend or family member.
    • When decorating, use Energy Star energy efficient lighting such as LED outdoor holiday lights, which require 1/50th of the electricity of conventional lights and last 20-30 years. Put lights on a timer or turn them on only when someone’s home.

There are many more tips and innovative solutions—EPA’s scientific experts are available during the holidays to reveal intriguing ways to easily reduce your environmental footprint. If you’re a member of the media interested in scheduling an interview with an EPA expert, email or call one of the media liaisons listed below.

Please include your name, media affiliation, contact information and deadline in your request.
To see how others are being green this holiday season and to let us know what you’re doing, please visit: