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Reduce, reuse, ‘tree-cycle’ to have a green holiday

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Waste output increases as much as 25 percent during the holiday season and this year will be no exception. To increase your green quotient this December, keep the following tips from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in mind:

Shop Green

* Give a consumable gift. Whether it’s organic coffee or tea, fresh or dried nuts, or tickets to a play or sporting event, your gift won’t collect dust sitting in the corner.

* Plan purchases ahead of time. Make a list, check it twice, and stick to it. Also, plan your trips so that you can hit multiple stores in the same area of town.

* Give a gift made of recycled content. It’s easier than ever to find beautiful home furnishings, accessories, clothing and other imaginative gifts made of recycled content.

* Buy rechargeable batteries. About 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Recycle your rechargeable batteries in the shed at the Ayer Transfer Station.

* Bring your reusable tote bags to the grocery store, CVS and anywhere else you shop. Leave them in your car so you remember to use them.

Decorate Green

* Did you know that 38,000 miles of ribbon alone are thrown out each year? That’s enough to tie a bow around the Earth! Accent gifts with reusable festive items like seasonal cookie cutters, a handmade ornament, or even fresh herbs, which can be included in holiday recipes.

* Use reusable boxes, fun tote bags and/or colored pillowcases, instead of purchasing reams of expensive wrapping paper.

* Turn off holiday lights during the day by unplugging or putting them on a timer. Doing so will not only save energy, but will help your lights last longer.

* Check stores for recycled-content holiday cards and envelopes or make them yourself. Gift tags can be made from last year’s recycled holiday cards.

Be Green

* Send your holiday greetings in electronic form. E-cards can be more fun than regular greeting cards, since they can be enhanced with sound and animation, and they create no physical waste.

* Save polystyrene “peanuts” and bubble wrap for shipping gifts next year, or recycle at a local UPS Store.

* As you make room for new holiday treasures, donate unwanted toys, electronics and clothing to charity.

* Tree-cycle after the holidays: Bring your tree to the Ayer Transfer Station.