Have a greener holiday season this year

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Now that Thanksgiving is over it is time to start celebrating those winter holidays. Choices that you make now can help us have a better and greener year in 2019.

Americans throw away 25 percent more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year holiday period than any other time of the year. With just a few changes to our choices or actions we can decrease this amount significantly or make sure that the waste we do create heads to the recycling bin.

As you buy gifts for this year, consider which gifts are more sustainable, reusable or made out of recycled products. Green Toys is a popular toy brand that makes most of their toys out of recycled milk jugs that gives the toys their bright color. Consider buying local which helps support the local economy and reduces gas usage from shipping.

Sometimes a new gift is replacing an older model that gives us yet something else to throw away. If you have an old electronic device to get rid of, consider recycling it instead of throwing it away.

The Old Dixie Highway Landfill and Convenience Center has a collection box set out year-round for all kinds of gadgets ranging from MP3 players to laptops. Or drop off your electronics on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Home Depot in Dalton between 8 a.m. and noon where Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful will be collecting live Christmas trees and electronics for recycling.

If you receive a gift that you don’t want to keep, consider reusing it by re-gifting instead of throwing it away. Depending on what it is, you could give it to someone for their birthday or another special event during the year.

If you plan on re-gifting, don’t commit the dreaded faux pas of giving the gift back to the person that gave it to you in the first place. Get a Post-it or scrap paper to make a note that lists the name of the person who gave you the item and the name of the person or individuals you may want to give it to later. You could also donate the item. Clothing, toys, cellphones and more can be donated to local charities, churches, clubs and individuals you know. Call ahead to get a list of items they typically will accept. Some organizations will require that all donations be new, while others accept things that are gently used and in good condition.

Once you have your gifts and toys picked out, it is time to wrap them. There are plenty of reusable options for gift wrap including cloth, newspaper or tote bags. It is a common myth that gift wrap cannot be recycled, but as long as it is not metallic or glittery you can definitely put it in your recycling bin if it is clean and dry. Paper supplies that can be recycled include gift wrap, greeting cards, gift tags, gift bags, paperboard boxes and cardboard boxes. Recycle these along with the newspaper, magazines and other mixed paper products in your recycling bin. On-paper handles and plastic tags from gift bags should be removed before recycling.

Remember as you prepare for your feasts this holiday season to only buy the food you truly need. If you have leftovers, save them in the fridge in a reusable dish or put your scraps in a compost bin. Serve the meal on reusable dishware and throw any plastic bottles, jugs and aluminum cans in a recycling bin.

If you choose a natural tree this year, set the date for Jan. 5 when you can recycle your Christmas tree for free at the Home Depot in Dalton from 8 a.m. to noon. Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful, the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, Whitfield County Public Works and Home Depot help sponsor and man this event. If you choose an artificial tree, make sure to store it for next year to save landfill space and money.

Why wait until New Year’s Day to start a resolution? End your year on a bright and green note by keeping these tips in mind this holiday season.