Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - 3:12am
Plan For Zero Waste Holidays
The holiday shopping season has its official kick off this Friday. Why not keep the health of the planet in mind while you look for the perfect gifts this year.
"The holidays are a time when we generate at least 25% more waste then we do the rest of the year," Madison recycling coordinator George Dreckmann said. "But, it is possible to have a zero waste or at least a low waste holiday season without being a Grinch."
To assist you in greening your holidays, the Streets Division has a web site with loads of suggestions on how you can brighten the holidays while you lighten your waste load. You will find ideas for low waste gift giving, entertaining, and decorating. The information can be found at www.cityofmadison.com/streets.
For example, instead of giving consumer goods, why not give the folks on your gift list an" Experience" such as tickets to a play, sporting event or concert. Gift certificates for a massage or a meal at a favorite restaurant are also great low waste ideas. Another great alternative to consumer goods is to give the gift of your time. Considering offer to baby sit, do household chores, help organize family photos, or offer to drive friends who do not have a car.
"Two of my favorite gifts are cloth shopping bags and rechargeable batteries," Dreckmann said. "It will help your friends reduce waste all year round."
When it comes to holiday parties, we often plan for convenience and that generates lots of waste. Every year Madison's refuse jumps over 100 tons after the holidays.
"All those paper plates and plastic cups make for tons of extra waste every December," Dreckmann said. "Using china and silverware reduces waste and adds a touch of class to your holiday entertaining.
"Think about the fact that we have come to believe that the effort needed to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, shape it like a fork, truck it to a store and bring it home is considered less effort than washing the fork when you are done with it," Dreckmann said.
- George Dreckmann, 267-2626