Madison, NJ –  The holidays are a time of giving—and creating waste. Annually, Americans discard 38,000 miles of ribbon and $11 billion worth of packing materials, according to the National Environmental Foundation. The Madison Environmental Commission has compiled a list of easy ways to go green this holiday season:

  • Recycle styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap at Pack Ship N More at the Staples Mall (300 Main St.);
  • Give your gifts in reusable boxes, bags and decorative tins to minimize gift wrap. Consider decorating old shoe boxes which you can use year after year;
  • Save and reuse ribbon;
  • Choose gift wrap that is 100% paper so that it can be recycled. Foil or paper with glitter or tape cannot be recycled. Rope or ribbon handles on gift bags must be removed before recycling;
  • Recycle non-alkaline batteries at the back door of PC Problems, 50 Main St. Button cell, lithium and rechargeable batteries are accepted;
  • Try non-material or experiential gifts such as gift certificates to local spas, movies and restaurants. Give a membership to a museum or simply donate to a charity in your recipient’s honor;
  • Opt out of catalogs and junk mail at dmachoice.thedma.org or catalogchoice.org;
  • Avoid buying products with single-serve packaging — whether it’s for gifts or entertaining;
  • If you have leftovers at a party, pack them up in reusable containers and send your guests home with goodie bags. Food waste is a major contributor to greenhouse gases;
  • Support Small Business Saturday and shop local on November 30. Madison’s stores, which include five eco-friendly consignment and thrift shops, add to the vibrancy of our town;
  • If you receive new appliances or electronic devices, donate your old ones to groups like the Vietnam Veterans (vva.org) who pick up at your door. If items are in poor condition, recycle them with Green Vision in Randolph (gvinc.org). They take “anything with a plug”;
  • Donate extra reusable bags at the Hartley Dodge Memorial, 50 Kings Road. The MEC will distribute them to the Senior Center, Drew students and the Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center.

“All of us can see a visible increase in trash at our curbs during the holidays,” says Maureen Byrne, Borough Council liaison to the Madison Environmental Commission. “Fortunately it’s easy to reduce our holiday impact.