Celebrating the holidays is a joyous time but did you know that from between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, household waste increases by more than 25 percent? Food waste, wrapping paper and packaging add an additional four million tons to our landfills.

There are many simple ways to “green” your holidays by reducing, recycling and reusing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website has many handy tips. It takes only a small commitment to protect the environment and just a few changes can make a significant impact.

For the UNM community, you can “Love Red and Live Green” this holiday season the following ways. The tips are courtesy of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition.

  • The City of Albuquerque accepts Christmas trees in early January, which will be chipped on site and available free to the public to use as mulch while supplies last. Check CABQ.gov at the end of December for drop off dates and locations.
  • Re-gift — Pass on something useful that you no longer need or use.
  • Consider making cookies, bread or a meal as your gift.
  • Choose gifts that are an experience or educational rather than something material.
  • Buy items made from recycled content.
  • Make your own creative gift wrap from the comics or used paper.
  • Choose rechargeable batteries for your electronics.
  • Do your shopping with reusable bags.
  • Plan meals carefully so as to avoid waste — store wisely and share leftovers.
  • Donate items kids have outgrown or other household items to a local charity.
  • Recycle old and defective holiday lights — most Ace Hardware stores have a program.
  • Get off mailing catalog mailing lists — call to cancel or go to www.dmachoice.org to opt-out online.
  • Save gift wrap and packaging for reuse.
  • Bag Styrofoam peanuts and bring to UNM Recycling. They will donate these to packing/shipping stores.

For more information about sustainability at UNM, follow on Facebook (UNM Office of Sustainability), Twitter (LoboGreen) and Instagram (unmsustainability).