DECEMBER 1, 2015 BY 

Reprinted from December Valley Voice

  1. Use LED holiday lights and recycle your old ones. LEDs last up to 10 times longer, are safer, and use 80% less energy than traditional incandescent lights. Also, don’t forget to put your lights on timers or turn them off before you go to bed. Use extension cords to add length to your lights in less visible areas instead of adding another string of lights. Fill out Cen$ible Energy Rebate form ( to receive money back on any ENERGY STAR certified lights. Please recycle old lights at Ace Hardware in the Curve Plaza.
  2. Decorate with natural materials. Making homemade holiday decorations is a perfect activity for families. As the seasons change, you can make beautiful decorations from items found in nature like a pinecone garland, twig ornaments, winter berries and pinecones, and seasonal plants. If you’re not feeling inspired, reuse family or vintage holiday decor. See YVSC’s Pinterest for DIY, holiday, Zero Waste ideas, sustainability, and so much more!
  3. Pack it eco-friendly. If you are mailing packages this year, pack the extra space with newspaper or shredded paper from your shredder. Both of these materials are harmless to our environment, unlike Styrofoam, which makes up 25% of our landfills and releases toxins like dioxin when burned. Instead of buying wrapping paper, use old newspapers or reused tissue paper. Most decorative wrapping paper contains compounds that release toxic chemicals when burned. So try using newspaper, reuse wrapping paper to wrap gifts or make cards, scarves, or re-usable gift bags. If you do use wrapping paper or bags, don’t forget to recycle!
  4. Buy local gifts and food. Try to keep your food and gift purchases local, organic, and sustainable. Not only are you supporting the local economy, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions through eliminating transportation. Replace canned ingredients with local foods that have traveled a short distance to our valley, reducing your overall holiday carbon footprint. Visit our friends at for a list of local favorites.
  5. Host a Zero Waste gathering. Consider serving food on real, reusable dishware. If you have to use disposable, do it with 100% compostable. You can purchase by the sleeve or in bulk from the Steve Green Company. Reduce your food waste by planning each meal and composting any food left over. Learn more at And last, donate any leftovers to our local food bank – Lift Up.
  6. Stop junk mail. The holiday season brings increased catalogs and other junk mail, but you can stop it! Either call the 1-800 number on the catalog to end subscriptions or register on websites like
  7. Send an e-card or e-video-card. Cut down on the paper products by sending your holiday cards electronically. If you are going to use cards, look for recycled paper cards and recycle the cards you receive. See the YVSC holiday video for a fun e-version that friends will take the time to watch.
  8. Buy cut holiday trees. Cut trees are much more environmentally friendly than artificial trees. Artificial trees are made with petroleum-based materials and often shipped thousands of miles to reach your home. Cut trees come from a tree farm, which regenerate new trees each year. Trees can be recycled at the end of the holidays at 285 Howelsen Parkway. Please take EVERYTHING off your tree prior to recycling, it will be mulched and used throughout the city in the spring.

For more holiday recycling ideas, locations, tips and more, see the YVSC Green Holiday Guide at