Monthly Archives: December 2015

Green Tip: Ideas for giving greener gifts

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When searching for the great holiday gifts for your family and friends, have you ever considered ways to also have less of an impact on the environment?   When shopping for gifts, consider items that meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Give non-materials goods, such as activities, gift certificates, tickets, memberships or making a donation to an organization on someone’s behalf.
  • Products with green attributes, including those that are locally made, reused, made with recycled content, made with less-toxic ingredients, and minimally packaged.
  • Help someone take action to protect the environmentby giving them high-quality, reusable and durable goods that reduce waste, protect water or conserve energy.
  • Support green businesses.Find businesses that sell used goods or offer repair services though the Choose to Re-Use Directory, or shop at a business recognized as a Hennepin County Environmental Partner for their efforts to recycle and divert organic waste.
  • Repair a favorite item.Small appliances, electronics, lamps, fans, toys, decorations, clothing and more can be repaired at a Fix-It Clinic, or look for a local businesses that offers repair services for specialty items like jewelry, shoes, electronics and more.

And remember to consider how your gifts are packaged. Most gift wrap is not recyclable because it contains a lot of dye, glitter, foil or is low quality, making it difficult to recycle into new paper. Consider using reusable gift boxes or bags, fabric, and recycled-content and recyclable paper when giving gifts.

Recycle strings of holiday lights

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Instead of tossing strings of holiday lights in the garbage, they can be recycled at a retailer or community site participating in the Recycling Association of Minnesota’s Recycle Your Holidays Program  String lights are also accepted at Hennepin County drop-off facilities.  The copper wiring inside the string lights as well as the plastic coating can be recycled. When buying new string lights, looks for LEDs, which are about 80 percent more energy efficient than incandescent lights. Learn more in the Star TribuneScreen Shot 2015-12-11 at 5.53.22 AM