4-H News: Take the time to make your holidays green this year

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News-Herald Columnist

Often we associate environmental topics with spring time, but you can be environmentally friendly any time of the year.  Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans produce an extra 1 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
For more information on greening up your holidays, contact the Owen County Cooperative Extension Service.