The Post-Holiday Green Guide…

christmas storageNow that we’ve stopping scurrying around in preparation for the holidays, we’re all liking looking around and seeing plenty yet to be done in the wake of a hectic season.

The tree, the lights, the presents, the boxes, the bags and bows, the piles of Christmas cards!… WHAT to do now? Well, let me help…

Here is a very simple list of things you can do to curb the waste, make the most of the season and keep it green!:

  • The Christmas tree – if you had a live-cut Christmas tree, check out Earth911 to find a drop-off so it can be turned into mulch or composted (if your community doesn’t offer the service).  If you have a wooded area near your house, give it back to nature for a wonderful winter habitat for animals.  If your tree is artificial and you’ve considered a replacement, donate your old tree.  Many organizations and needy families would love them for next year.christmas tree artificial 3
  • Packaging and boxes – everything from gift packaging to the shipping boxes the gifts arrived in… either recycle them (if they aren’t usable again) or save them (along with the reusable packing materials) for when you need to ship something.  If you have more than you can handle, list and sell them through Box Cycle.
  • Gift bags, ribbons, bows and tissue – simply fold, flatten and/or store.  They can all likely be used again (and again!).
  • Lights – if you have strands that have permanently gone out, take advantage of clearance sales and stock up on new LEDs for next year’s energy-efficient decorating.  You can also check out HolidayLEDs.com… they’ll accept old incandescents and give you a 25% discount on a new LED purchase.
  • Clear it out! – make way for new gifts by cleaning out what is no longer needed and donate them to charity.  Clothes, toys, books, household items… everything is useful for someone, or an entire family, in need!
  • Christmas cards – ever heard of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children?  Well, they’d love to receive your Christmas cards!  This non-profit organization cares for abused, abandoned and/or neglected children.  They accept used greeting cards (including Christmas, birthday and even “Thank You” cards), the children remove the fronts and attacchristmas cardsh them to a recycled paper backing.  They turn them into new greeting cards… and then sell them!  Bundle them up and mail them to:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

As you get your post-holiday life back in order there is some work to be done but, rest assured, there are plenty of wise, green choices that can be made as we bid the year farewell…

(Tree photo: Christmas Lights Etc.)

Post #381… a 2010 Holiday Review!

christmas partyAnother Christmas come and gone in a whirlwind here at the Mom Goes Green household! I hope your holiday was wonderful and filled with every blessing imaginable!  (Now I’m getting back into the groove with post #381 and gearing up for the New Year!)

As always, we had amazing and magical fun!  Santa delivered exactly what was requested so the kids are thrilled (and nothing will be sitting, unwanted, under the tree!).

As every box and package was UNpacked, they were broken down and flattened and made their way into the recycling can… even the wrapping paper.  The recycling can is FULL… and the garbage can?… hardly a thing added!xmas wrp pile

Tissue and bows were set aside and have made their way into storage for reuse next year too!  All other family gifts were also given in bags recycled from last year so I didn’t need to purchase a single supply!  Some family members even gave back the gift bags with a smile and a “Here… for next year!”  Ahh, they know me well!xmas gft bg

I’m also happy to report that at every gathering, our families used the REAL silverware, plates, bowls, glasses, cups and serveware… not a disposable in sight! Bravo, family… and thank you!

We’ll soon be weeding out old (but usable) clothing, toys, books and other household items to donate to charities that serve the less fortunate.  I know we all tend to give before the holidays but xmas place setremember, the need exists 365 days a year so it’s never too late, or too soon!  Let the giving continue!

In the coming days I’ll give you more tips and tricks to wrap up the holidays and get you sent off into the New Year…

… But for now, I simply wish to say I hope your Christmas or holiday was as wonderful and magical as ours!

Extraordinary (and GREEN) last minute gift ideas!

christmas globeOh, the ticking clock to the holidays… it’s getting louder and louder!

I have already given you the list of Mom Goes Green holiday recommendations, from gifts to party planning, so I hope you’ve already discovered some great ideas and tips.

But then along comes another list that’s worthy of some sharing! It’s from The Huffington Post and may help you if you’re still really, really struggling for a last minute gift idea! Take a look!

I also realized that there is one VERY important organization that I didn’t mention loudly enough: Kiva!

Kiva is really quite extraordinary… through their gift certificate program you can “loan” your gifted money to a “working poor” recipient of your choosing.  Once they are able to repay the loan, you are given back your donated money to grant to another needy recipient… and this wonderful cycle starts all over again!

We’ve personally supported many families. They’ve including a man in Tajikistan who desperately needed money to buy seeds for farming, to a gentleman in Palestine that needed funds to improve his organic chicken farm! It’s rewarding (and admittedly fun!Kiva holiday) to go through the list of people, see who you would like to help and check on their progress as time goes on, and until their loan is repaid.

Consider giving a Kiva gift certificate to someone (or make a donation yourself) and just a small amount will allow them (or you!) to give again and again and again…

Isn’t that really much better than that lousy sweater you were considering?…

A great gift to give… that gives again!

minespireThe clock is ticking… tick, tick, tick. Yes, I know you can hear it too.

I am always a huge advocate of giving gifts that have a purpose, that don’t fall into that “huge pit” of things that just cause clutter, but actually do serve a cause.  Well, what if I told you there is a gift that is tangible AND serves a purpose?

Let me introduce you to Minespire.  These beautiful earth-inspired tees are truly the gift that give the tangible, but also the gift that gives again!  50% of the net profits from the sale of the tees are donated to organizations that support the environmminespire lgent, and human and animal rights.  Minespire has partnered with Friends of the Earth to offer tees that are made from 100% organic cotton and ethically produced in a fair-wage, non-sweatshop environment.  It’s the perfect combination of giving and giving AGAIN!

You must know someone left on “the list” that will be moved or inspired by the message.

It’s not really abfoe_logoout getting… it should be all about giving, and then giving some more… and with Minespire, you CAN do both!

Five tips to “go green” for “back to school”!

The sumback 2 schoolmer is dwindling… it’s the countdown to the “end”… sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?  But this is truly my least favorite time of year.  Sure the weather is wonderful and there is so much fun to be had, but I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach when I have to send my kids back to school.  I actually happen to be a mom who loooves to have my kids at home!

But school time is looming and it’s time to prepare. So, while you’re prepping your list (the long list!) of everything they need, keep these tidbits in mind to help keep it on the green side:

  • Check your “stock” – you may already have supplies at home; some may even be leftover from last year, so check carefully before you buy.
  • Look for recycled content – notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, binders and even backpacks… there are lots of options out there made from recycled content, so be wise when you choose. Also, choose paper, paperboard or canvas over plastics.citiznpp kit
  • Waste-free lunches – plan to pack your kids’ lunches with reusable lunch kits like those from Kids Konserve or Citizen Pip.  Also, opt for reusable containers, bottles, real silverware and cloth napkins over anything single-use or disposable, and make sure everything is BPA-free.
  • Backpacks and totes – as exciting as it seems to purchase new every year, convince your kids that if it’s still functional, it’s still usable.  If you can, also steer them away from something “character” based, so when they outgrow the character you don’t feel forced into a replacement. And when you do need to replace one, consider donating the outgrown version and make sure the new one is PVC-free.
  • Clothes – we all know how quickly kids grow, but the bigger they get the slower they grow.  Take a little time for a “try-on” session.  If it’s not outgrown, no need to replace it just yet.  When it no longer fits, be sure to donate everything to organizations that provide clothing to those in need.  Even consignment shops and sales or swaps are great resources for giving or getting items that still have usefulness.

Whether yoschoolbusu get teary-eyed at the idea of sending your kids back to school, or the first day couldn’t come soon enough (I will be a teary-eyed one!) be sure to earn a “green star” for your efforts before they go!