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  Nr. 55 - Dec. '02-Jan. '03
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December Eco Tip

by Nehama Weininger, December 2002
Have a Green Christmas

The holiday season is considered the most wasteful time of the year. Waste created by the traditions of giving gifts, decorating our homes and entertaining guests inundates our waste management systems. Here are a few ideas to help reduce, re-use and enjoy a less wasteful holiday season.

RE-USE AND CREATE: Making your own wrapping paper is not only ecological and economical but you can also individualize gifts, making them stylish, colourful or humourous...

* Revive scrap paper, paper bags or plain boxes with a coat of paint, stickers, stencils or a collage of old holiday cards or magazine images.

* Make your own stamps for decorating paper: Cut a potato in half, carve a raised shape into the flat part, dip in paint and stamp. You can also make stamps by cutting sponge shapes.

* Wrap gifts in reusable attractive paper; newsprint comics, old magazines or calendars, road maps or sheet music.

RE-USE AND SAVE: Keep the more intact wrapping paper, cards, ribbons, boxes and bags and save them for next year.

If you are going to purchase wrapping paper, avoid metallic colours. This paper is often produced in an environmentally unfriendly manner. Instead, buy recycled wrapping paper (when you see the "green chasing arrows" emblem on a package, it indicates that the container is made of recycled materials or that the manufacturer recycled to produce the item inside).

Finally, most Christmas trees nowadays come from Christmas tree farms which offer some environmental benefits. However if you are considering not buying a traditional tree, here are some alternatives:

* Decorate trees and bushes outside your home.

* Purchase a synthetic tree that you can use year after year.

* Purchase a living tree that you can plant in your garden after Christmas.

If you do buy a traditional cut tree, instead of discarding it remember it can be ground up and used as mulch in gardens, on paths, or as animal bedding.
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