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Greening Your Holidays
by Rosemarie Russo, Sustainability Director

Sustainablemoab website
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%, adding an additional one million tons of waste to America’s landfills each week.

Go Green with Gifts

Look for gifts with minimal packaging, items that are made from recycled materials, or are produced locally. Support our local artists by buying at Moab Made, Canyonlands Copy Center or other stores that sponsor local artisans.

Eco-Friendly Gifts
Consider gifts with a smaller eco-footprint: Tickets to an event, movie, or show are excellent choices. Buy a pass for an art class at the MARC, language class at the Multicultural Center, punch passes for the MRAC or Continuing Education at USU. Support our local massage therapists at Moab Spa and entrepreneurs such as Sundial Medicinals or Wild Bloom Fermentations.

Conserve Energy
Use LED lights and put lights on timers to turn on at dusk and off at bedtime. Leaving holiday lights on for 24 hours will quadruple energy costs and produce 4x more pollution than necessary! Ten percent of everyone’s energy bill is from phantom load. It’s energy that you are charged for if an item is plugged in but switched off. If the same appliance or holiday lights are on a power strip that will eliminate the charge. Households on power strips save about $10/ month and during the holidays, you can save closer to $20.

ENERGY STAR® qualified decorative light strings are available in a wide range of colors, sizes and shapes. These LED lights save up to 90 percent of the energy used by traditional incandescent lighting. Some newer versions even deliver features such as dimming and color shifting. Energy Star bulbs usually last up to 10 years and ENERGY STAR® rated strings carry a three-year warranty. Compared with traditional strings LED strings are much more durable and shock resistant because LED strings do not have moving parts, filaments or glass.

Be Mindful of Food Waste

The holiday season means even more wasted food. Save money, water, and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by wasting less!

Plan meals ahead of time and buy only what you need;
Buy in bulk, the Coop and City Market have bulk options;
Send leftovers home with guests and get creative with recipes that use leftovers;
Donate excess to the Food Bank;
Compost the rest.

The City started a pilot green cone food waste project at Old City Park. Green cones can serve a household of four. Food waste including bones can be placed in the cone and worms digest the material. Instead of undergoing anaerobic decay which produces air pollution, only carbon dioxide is released so we all breathe easier. The area surrounding the cone becomes nutrient rich so the cones can be used in gardens or adjacent to them.

Food waste makes up approximately 23 percent of what residents throw in their trash. It’s not just banana peels or chicken bones – often it’s whole foods and ingredients that get tossed without being consumed.

The average household throws away one-quarter of all the food they buy – that’s like walking in the door with four grocery bags and dropping one straight into the trash each time you shop! Across the US, as much as 40 percent of all food grown ends up being wasted. All that food waste comes at a cost – when you save your food, you also save money, water, and greenhouse gas emissions.

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