Conserving and recycling during the holidays


Conserving and recycling don't have to be onerous tasks; holiday chores are plentiful enough. Here are five easy ways to make this Christmas a "green" one in any household.

*Recycle your holiday tree. Check with nurseries, stores and municipal recycling programs: After the holidays, Baltimore County's sanitation bureau and IKEA in White Marsh, for example, will turn the tree into mulch or wood chips.

*Special ornaments aren't needed for a "green" Christmas. Just make a point of decorating with items that won't be thrown away; instead of using disposables, start a collection.

*Send recycled-paper holiday cards. Available for $8 to $20 at the Nature Co.; some stationers, bookstores and museum shops; service organizations such as Sierra Club; catalogs including Washington-based Co-op America, (202) 232-1881. Recycled-paper gift wraps are sold at IKEA and through catalogs including Seventh Generation, (800) 456-1177.

*Substitute holiday fabrics, decorative tea towels, pretty linens or colorful tote bags for wrapping paper. Tie gifts with use-again lengths of braid or fabric ribbon. Reduce the number of boxes used to wrap gifts.

*Shredded newspaper and wood shavings make fine packing materials. Green consumers prefer them over polystyrene or plastic peanuts.

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