With the holiday season in full swing, the Doña Ana County Illegal Dumping Partnership (IDP) encourages individuals and families to celebrate in a new way this year—by implementing zero waste habits into their celebrations.
“The holiday season means more grocery shopping, more time in the kitchen, large gatherings, and lots of packaging on gift items,” said Vicki Lusk, Manager of Doña Ana County Animal Control & Codes. “This year, we’re asking community members to do their part to cut down on the waste produced during the holiday season. Small changes in everyday situations can help to create a large positive impact for the environment.”
The IDP recommends the following tips during the holiday season:
Ban the bag. While shopping for groceries or gifts, avoid utilizing the store’s non-recyclable plastic bags. Instead, take cloth and reusable totes/bags to the store with you.
Skip the straw. Whether dining out or celebrating with your family and friends at home, eliminate the use of single-use plastic, such as straws. When ordering, tell the server that you do not want straws, before they are delivered to your table. These items are often improperly disposed of and lead to the accumulation of illegal dumping and litter.
Kick the cup. Plastic cups abound at large holiday gatherings; however, you can make a difference by choosing reusable cups or glassware. As a last resort, choose paper products that will biodegrade.
Go live. Instead of buying an artificial or cut tree, both of which will likely end up in a landfill, opt for a live tree. Not only will a live tree accent your house with the scents of the holidays, but live trees can also be replanted, which in turn benefits our environment.
Get creative. Once you’ve selected the perfect gift, put your creativity to good use for presentation. Instead of using wrapping paper, which is one of the largest holiday culprits for landfill litter, consider using an alternative method. Display your gift in a basket, decorate paper grocery bags for wrapping, give gifts in reusable fabric bags or reusable shopping bags, or make your gift especially memorable by using a tin, can or jar as a container.
Be thrifty. Make a game out of holiday shopping, and save some money—all while recycling and keeping items out of the landfill. Plan a family outing, and buy at least a portion of your gifts from a thrift store.
In addition to these tips, it is important to continue to implement the three R’s—reduce, reuse, recycle. The holiday season is an ideal time to share these commitments and practices with family members, children, and friends, and to create a new tradition of zero waste. Consider making gifts or offering services to your family members rather than purchasing new items.
“Holidays are a time of celebration, giving and families and communities coming together,” added Lusk. “We ask those in Doña Ana County to extend that giving spirit and that community-minded attitude toward a commitment to keep our communities clean. Don’t let illegal dumping and littering dampen your holiday spirit or the spirit of those around you.”
For more information on the IDP or to find out how get involved in cleanup efforts, visit CleanupWithCarlos.org.
About IDP: The Doña Ana County Illegal Dumping Partnership (IDP) is a multi-agency task force founded to help combat illegal dumping throughout Doña Ana County. IDP is committed to increasing the public health and safety of Doña Ana County, as well as keeping the area clean and beautiful. IDP is active in communities and schools throughout the County, providing public education to increase awareness about environmental responsibility and resources needed for community cleanup days.