Environmental Health and Safety
December 2015- The Holiday Issue
I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas
The holiday season is a fun-filled time spent decorating, gifting, and traveling near and far to see family and loved ones. With all of the hustle and bustle that comes with this time of year, it is important to remind ourselves of the toll these activities take on the environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produce about 1 million extra tons of trash around the holidays. Long distance travel increases by nearly 25 percent according to U.S. Department of Transportation.
Here are a few tips to reduce some of our holiday environmental impacts:
- Recycle wrapping paper, or make your own from materials found around the house. Here are some fun ideas for making your own wrapping paper: DIY Wrapping Ideas
- Lower the thermostat when cooking and when having company over. The heat from the oven and your guests will help compensate, and reduce your utility costs.
- Decorate thoughtfully. Cut back on outside lights and think about using LED lights, which can use 90 percent less energy than regular holiday lights.
- Buy in bulk to reduce packaging waste.
Gifts can be wrapped with a scarf or fabric that doubles as a gift!
Avoid shiny, metallic paper that can be difficult to recycle
Reuse gift bags instead of throwing them away
Stay Healthy and Let the Good Times Roll
- Wash your hands often
- Stay warm
- Manage stress
- Travel safely
- Watch the kids
- Prevent injuries
- Handle and prepare food safely
- Eat healthy (as healthy as possible!) and be active
Visit the CDC's Family Health website for additional information, or listen to their tips in a holiday song!
Decorate with Safety in Mind
- Never use lighted candles near trees, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item.
- Keep you tree well watered to avoid drying out to quickly.
- Stand your tree away from ignition sources, such as fire places and radiators.
- If using an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.
- Only use indoor lights indoors (and outdoor lights outdoors). Look for the UL label and check for broken sockets, bare or frayed wires, and loose connections. Replace or repair damaged light sets.
- Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs, around furniture legs or across doorways.
The Environmental and Safety Programs Division assists with regulatory compliance, occupational health and safety, remediation project management, technical support, and sustainability measures throughout the park.
If you have any questions related to environmental programs, health and safety, or have specific areas of interest you would like to know more about, don't hesitate to contact us.