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How to Reduce Holiday Waste and Protect the Great Lakes at the Same Time

photo of wrapped gifts
Re-using wrapping paper, or using old newspapers instead, can reduce paper waste.

The holiday season can be a happy time for many. But it also can create problems for the environment. Angelica Morrison from Great Lakes Today explains how you can have an environmentally-friendly holiday.

Americans generate much more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day -- about 25 percent more. That’s according to the Vanderbilt University Guide on Sustainability.

The issue concerns many environmental groups in the Great Lakes region. Nate Drag from the Alliance for the Great Lakes says there are ways to avoid contributing to the increase of holiday trash.

“Being more conscious about what you're purchasing and whether it’s something that people will need and use and will last for a long time -- or if it’s something that they might not need and can be thrown away quickly,” he said. “So thinking about our consumer decisions, past opening up a gift.”

And how you wrap your gift could make a difference as well.

“You can always reuse paper that that you used before,” Drag said. “The comics always work well.”

The report said if each person wrapped just three gifts with reusable materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.

This story comes from Great Lakes Today, a collaboration of WBFO Buffalo, ideastream Cleveland, and WXXI Rochester.