By Nancy Cochran, the executive director of Keep Islip Clean
The holidays are almost here, and with the fun also comes a "to do" list even longer than usual for many of us. It's tempting to cut corners wherever possible, but don't let your "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" efforts fall victim to the holiday time crunch. A little bit of forethought and minimal effort is all it takes to keep the season clean and green.
Here are a few reminders along with some suggestions that may be new to you:
● Reuse bows and ribbons from last season.
● Avoid buying foil or plastic coated gift wrap because each cannot be recycled.
● Bring canvas bags for all holiday shopping, not just at the supermarket, or combine purchases into one big bag rather than getting a new bag at each store.
● Instead of wrapping gifts in paper, be creative. Use reusable gift boxes, bags, fabric remnants, scarves etc.
● Make gift tags from old greeting cards.
● Give gift certificates or non-material gifts such as tickets to a game, play, movie or concert.
● Buy rechargeable batteries for electronic gifts.
● Donate unwanted gifts, clothing or toys to a local charity rather than discarding them.
● Extend party invitations and greetings by phone or e-mail instead of using paper.
● Choose cloth napkins, dinnerware, glasses and utensils for parties instead of disposable tableware.
● Buy a live tree and replant it after the holidays.
● Use decorations that can be used year to year (no tinsel!) or are taken from nature (sprigs of holly, for example).
Keep America Beautiful estimates that the amount of garbage in the U.S. increases by an extra one million tons per week between Thanksgiving and New Year. Let's all do our part to reduce this amount, for the beauty of our communities and health of the environment.