Make a positive impact on the environment this holiday season

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By Roberta Hunt

While visiting our local recycling center with Teen Leadership Washington County last Friday, it brought home the importance of recycling.  

It was also interesting to see how many families that currently do not recycle or have fallen “out of the habit.”  

Recycling is one way we can all help the environment.

Often we associate environmental topics with springtime, but you can be environmentally friendly any time of the year.  

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans produce an extra one million tons of trash per week. The holidays are a great time to reduce your waste and get young people interested in the environment.

Here are some ways you and your children can reduce your impact on the environment while still enjoying the season and showing loved ones that you care.

•Meet as a family and make a recycling plan.  Start with the holidays and then go from there.
•Bring your reusable shopping bags when you go to the store.
•Ask your child to package items in reusable materials such as dish towels, beach towels, backpacks or reusable bags.
•Be creative when wrapping gifts.  Using newspaper and other recycled items can make gift giving fun and decorative.
•Have your child collect pine cones, branches and other natural items from your backyard as these can become holiday decorations that are attractive and fun to make, and they can be composted once the holiday celebrations are over.
•When giving gifts, encourage your children to offer their time. Many older adults enjoy spending time with younger children more than receiving gifts from them.
•Have your child consider doing chores or errands, such as babysitting, instead of giving a tangible gift.
•Encourage your children to get creative and make gifts like scrapbooks or cookbooks with favorite family recipes to give to others as gifts.
•Bake items with your child to give away as gifts.
•Share your successes with other families and friends.
Whatever your family chooses to do to help the environment, doing it together can be the best gift of all.

•4-H Young Riders – Monday, Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m. at the Extension Office.
•4-H Spurs & Furs – Tuesday, Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m. at the Extension Office.
•4-H Holiday Fun Workshop – Wednesday, Dec. 18, 3:15-5:30 p.m. at the Extension Office. Deadline to register is Friday, Dec. 13.

For complete information on all of the above activities, contact the Washington County Extension Office at 336-7741.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.