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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Time For Giving To Our Planet: The holiday season is when we generate the most waste, and real estate pro Kathy Maguire provides easy tips on how to be more environmentally friendly during the yuletide

Dec 01, 2014 10:53AM ● By Kathy Maguire

The holiday season is here, the time of year we create more waste than at any other. But just because we create it doesn’t mean it all has to end up in a landfill. With local curbside and drop-off programs and other recycling resources, we can make the yuletide the season of recycling. Some of the items that can be recycled include gift boxes, Christmas trees, holiday cards, junk mail, magazines, catalogs, plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers, and more.

Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, and the 2.65 billion holiday cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one less card, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper. Perhaps consider sending some holiday cards electronically, thereby saving paper. Here are some other eco-friendly tips to consider around the holidays.

Use reusable shopping bags. This will reduce the number of plastic bags that get trashed and minimize the amount of petroleum used to make them. If we receive plastic bags, remember to recycle the clean ones at the local grocery store and do not place them in the curbside recycling container.

Avoid wrapping gifts in materials that are not recyclable or reusable, such as foil or metallic papers. Always buy recycled content wrapping paper and consider saving this year’s wrapping paper for reuse next year. Save and reuse items such as bows and ribbons, as they are not recyclable and should not be placed in the recycling container. When sending holiday cards, consider buying recycled content cards and envelopes. Another idea is to make cards or gift tags at home out of last year’s cards and saved wrapping paper.

When shipping a gift, reuse the foam peanuts from another package or use unbuttered popcorn for packing. Return unwanted Styrofoam packing peanuts to a local UPS store, but give the store a call before delivering it. Rechargeable batteries and a battery charger are a great way to cut down on the consumption of consumable batteries. Remember to save used batteries and dispose of them properly. Many local office supply stores will accept used batteries for recycling.

People can remove their name from mailing lists of catalogs they no longer wish to receive and eliminate unwanted credit offers by visiting Lastly, recycle Christmas trees and wreaths. The city of Phoenix offers curbside pickup of these items, so check a local tree pickup schedule to find out when it is okay to place them curbside. For more information, visit

Kathy Maguire is a residential real estate agent with DPR Realty, LLC. She is EcoBroker certified and holds the National Association of Realtor’s GREEN designation, as well as GRI and ABR designations. For more information, visit

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