How to Be 'Green' this Holiday Season

Reuse old things, handcraft new ones and donate—all locally.

It's a lot easier to be green these days, especially at Christmas time.

Did you know that nearly 30 percent of municipal waste comes from packaging materials? Did you know that decorative incandescent lights can cost you almost 90 percent more than LED lights?

The City of Mountain View has posted a list of suggestions on how residents can make their December a little more environmentally-friendly:

  • Make Your Own Wrapping Paper with old maps, the comics section of a newspaper, or children's artwork. Or use a scarf, attractive dish towel, bandana, or some other useful cloth item. If every family wrapped just three gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
  • Donate to a Charity in honor of a loved one rather than giving a physical gift.

  • Give an Experience with a gift of concert, theatre or sporting event tickets, personal service gift certificates or museum and park memberships.

  • Recycle Your Old Cell Phone if you are gifted with a new one. Recycling will prevent hazardous materials like mercury, cadmium and lead from ending up in our landfills. For information on how to recycle your cell phone, visit www.MVRecycle.org and click on "E-Waste."

  • Buy Energy-Saving LED Holiday Lights that use 90% less energy than conventional holiday lights, and save up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season!

  • Old non-working lights can be mailed to recyclers, usually in exchange for a discount coupon for new LED lights. Visit www.MVrecycle.org (choose Holiday Tree Recycling) for a list of recyclers.

  • Buy from local merchants rather than Internet sales to keep your tax dollars supporting services to the community.

If you have extra comic books you bought from laying around use those. Instead of buying ribbon to use on the gifts, reuse yarn from that unraveling sweater you are about to throw out. Or head to and buy some package-free materials to make fun and or useful gifts (a tissue box cover?).

Plenty of local non-profit organizations could use donations too. You can donate online to support social services organizations like Community Services Agency, Community Health Awareness Council, Day Workers Center of Mountain View or even the arts, like Peninsula Youth Theatre or Community School for Music and Arts.

And don't forget the education non-profits like Mountain View Educational Foundation and MVLA High School Foundation.


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