Have Yourself an Eco-Friendly Holiday

Expert offers tips on ways to keep your holiday season green.

Recycle gift wrapping this holiday season.

Recycle gift wrapping this holiday season.

iStockphoto.com/Pattie Calfy

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New York, New York – If there is one thing that Americans do a lot of each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is spending money. Last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19 billion cards, letters and packages were delivered during that period. They also report that during December 2008 alone $28.2 billion was spent in department stores. While all that spending, giving and receiving may be good for the economy, it wreaks havoc on the environment.

“A lot of resources are being used, and a lot of trash being produced,” says Gary Null, an award-winning talk show host, notable author and the founder of Progressive Radio Network (PRN). “We know the devastating effect that this has on our planet. It is important to do our part to try to keep the holidays as environmentally friendly as possible.”

With a population of 308 million in America alone, if each person tossed one extra piece of garbage this holiday season, the additional waste would be quite alarming. There are things that we can do to achieve an eco-friendly holiday. Start by keeping these tips in mind:

Buy less. Focus on buying quality, rather than quantity. More items mean more resources were used and more waste will be accumulated.

Buy used. Purchasing used products is environmentally friendly. It keeps resources from being used to create new items, and it prevents the used ones from going to a landfill.

Skip the shipping. Try to skip mailing packages. If you must ship, the smaller the better.

Reduce travel. Think twice about whether you need to travel. If you do, consider purchasing carbon offsets.

Get toy savvy. Each year, billions are spent on toys. Look for toys that are made of eco-friendly materials and have limited packaging. Also, try to skip the plastic toys, since they are bad for the environment.

Wrap smart. Wrapping paper can be a real drain on the environment. Look for friendlier alternatives, such as discarded newspapers. No matter what you use, be sure to recycle what you can afterwards.

Party green. If you have any get-togethers, be sure to green the party by using only eco-friendly party supplies.

Card yourself. With billions of cards being sent throughout the holidays, a lot of resources are being used. Skip sending any unnecessary cards and, if you do send some cards, opt for online or recycled paper versions. Also, be sure to save, reuse or recycle the cards you do get.

Recycle sleuth. Whether looking at the packaging, at presents or at the decorations, recycle as much as possible. Many items come in cardboard boxes that can easily be broken down and put into the recycling.

Decorate wise. When decorating, opt for low-energy lights and use a timer. Each year, roughly $410 million is spent in the United States for the purchase of real Christmas trees. If you opt for one, try to buy it as close to home as possible, and have it recycled locally when you are done with it.

“At first, it may seem overwhelming to have an environmentally friendly holiday,” Null says. “But once you take on the challenge and pull it off, you will feel great about it. Plus, it will be a breeze to do it for each of the holidays that follows. It really will be come like second nature.”

PRN offers several shows that focus on the environment: “Paradise Parking Lot,” which airs on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. EST, followed each week by “The Super Natural Mom,” focusing on sustainable living, and “Sierra Club Radio,” airing Fridays at 11 a.m. EST. Listeners can enjoy PRN and find a list of all shows, hosts, and events on the website.

Progressive Radio Network, founded by Gary Null, is a grassroots talk-radio network that focuses on the progressive movement. Null, a health and nutrition expert, is considered to be one of the top health activists in the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in human nutrition and public health science, is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written more than 70 books. PRN features a variety of progressive talk-radio hosts who cover myriad issues, including the environment, autism, health and natural living. To learn more about Progressive Network Radio or to tune in, visit the website.