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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Jennifer Johnson, Education and Outreach Specialist (360) 754-4111 ext. 7631

Reduce, Re-use, Rejoice!

OLYMPIA – Why does Thurston County 's Solid Waste team want to talk with you about your holiday habits?  We work all year to reduce the amount of waste littering our highways and piling up in landfills and yet, Americans discard 4.5 million tons of waste a week, on average.  It gets worse! During the holidays, that number increases by a million EXTRA TONS A WEEK.  And so, we ask the age-old question, are peace and good will found at a store?  Can they be purchased on-line?

The holidays are a time for families to gather together, to appreciate life and to seek joy during winter's chill.  How did the holidays turn from a time to celebrate warmth and light in the coldest and darkest time of the year to a time for frenzied shopping, credit card debt and unrealistic expectations?  Committing to new, sustainable traditions can offer more joy and peace during the holiday season.  Thurston County 's Solid Waste team has put together some great tips for reducing waste, stress, and money during the holidays. 

 The time, stress, and money that you save, are gifts for everyone!  Tips include-

  • Expressing your love (and good taste) by wrapping gifts with useful items such as scarves, handkerchiefs, towels, baskets, planters, and blankets (to name a few).  Gifts can be lavishly wrapped without adding more waste to the landfill! You will be adding to the gift, NOT the landfill!
  • Wrapping gifts in comic book pages, kids' art, old maps, old sheet music, or your on-the-way-out calendar pages.
  • Giving the gift of time.  Our time is the most valuable thing that we can share.  The truth is, gramps doesn't want another pair of socks; he just wants to spend time with you more than once a year. 
  • Giving the gift of skill.  Bake homemade treats, offer your sewing skills, clean an elderly friend's home, baby-sit for the new parents, or shovel snow for someone who can't.  Everyone has something to offer that someone else would appreciate.
  • Giving the gift of experience.  Take a friend to the movies, skiing, to a play, or concert.  Invite someone to go on a weekend adventure of his or her choice.  Buy tickets to the theater or sporting events for the family.
  • Buying long-lasting items.  If shopping is a part of your tradition that you can't imagine giving up, purchase items that are well made and long lasting.  Make purchases that are not heavily packaged.  Look for unique gifts at antique and thrift stores.
  • Committing to relaxed gatherings. Nobody expects it to be perfect except for you!  Potlucks offer abundant, diverse menus without pressure on any one person. Rent, borrow or purchase durable place settings and then wash up together.  Turn down the heat when guests arrive, the extra bodies will keep the house warm.  Send home leftovers with guests in clean re-useable containers such as yogurt and salsa containers. 

Bring the focus this holiday season back to what is important to you and your family.  Help reduce the waste-and stress- that doesn't have to be a part of your family traditions!  For more waste less ideas visit the Thurston County web site at www.co.thurston.wa.us/holiday or contact Jennifer Johnson at (360) 754-4111 ext. 7631 or johnsoj@co.thurston.wa.us

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3