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Green Up the Holiday Season by Giving Up a Little Plastic

Follow these suggestions to find new and creative ways to recycle and reuse while gift giving.

With petroleum-based products so persuasive, here are some ways Beverly Hills residents can reduce plastic use during the holiday season.

Pack it up: Ever wonder what to do with all of that packaging foam that comes with your new computer, television or furniture? I don’t know about you, but it feels wrong to throw it in the trash when the chance that it will be recycled is zilch. Besides, much of it clutters up our alleys if it doesn’t quite make it into the bin. Waste to Waves turns the clean, white, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) stuff into surfboards. The closest Waste to Waves-participating surf shop is in Santa Monica (of course). Sorry, but it cannot accept packing “peanuts,” which are not made from EPS.

Re-wrap it up: For the eco-conscious consumer, word along Wilshire Boulevard is that re-gifting is shaking its stigma. Of course, do it with class: Pass along only the new, unused presents that weren’t quite right for you. (And remember: it’s the thought that counts.) Make it meaningful and make sure the next recipient can really use it. Consider re-wrapping something in festive fabric or put it in a new reusable shopping bag. You can also clean up your place and make end-of-the-year donations to thrift and resale shops in the surrounding area. 

Give it up: Instead of single-use plastic gift cards, give from your heart. (John Trosko of the Beverly Hills-based Organizing LA says that the typical household has more than $300 worth of these shiny pieces of plastic scattered throughout the house that go unused.) It’s easy to make a donation to a local deserving organization or cause like the Maple Counseling Center, the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra (which had been based in the Saban Theatre until this spring) or Ace of Hearts animal rescue.

Dog gone green: Ace of Hearts founder and green interior decorator Kari Williams also creates dog beds with filling made from 100 percent recycled plastic. Her Greener Pup website notes that one pound of filling is made from 10 plastic water or soda bottles. Depending on the size of the made-in-the-USA beds, which can have 7-12 pounds of filling each, 70 to 120 plastic bottles are diverted from our landfills. (Added plus: the soft, durable filler is breathable and hypoallergenic.)

Give it up … again: On Thursday, celebrate “A Day Without a Bag,” an educational event started by Heal the Bay in Los Angeles and hosted by Surfrider Foundation chapters. Seems like most of the bags I see floating through town are from Rite Aid. If you’re there Thursday, forgo the single-use bag.

Eco-conscious gifting: If you worry about giving your little ones plastic products that could contain chemical phthalates, offers a variety of wood toys. The shop also carries the “Green Toys” line, which is made from recycled plastic.

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Ellen Lutwak December 24, 2011 at 10:59 PM
The Amanda Foundation can use your old towels and sheets for their doggies. Open today and tomorrow until 4 pm. Clean up your linen closet and make a donation. 351 North Foothill Road

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