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Dreamin' of a green Christmas

This week both the Oregonian and Portland Tribune had some good ideas for making the holidays a little greener.

Recycle everything! A no-brainer, right? I've always been stymied about blocks of styrofoam and rigid plastic packaging. Turns out that Far West Fibers can recycle both, though the styrofoam will cost a small fee. If you've never been over to their site on SE 28th, it's worth a trip. Save up all that nasty stuff that you hate to chuck in the garbage, and head on over. They can recycle just about anything -- but some of it, like styrofoam blocks, costs a small fee. Some branches of Postal Annex will accept foam blocks and bubble wrap, but call ahead to check. Clean packing peanuts can be dropped off any UPS store for free. Also, Metro has a comprehensive site on recycling (though I find it a little cumbersome to get straight answers).

Re-using gift wrap! I don't know anyone who doesn't hoard and re-use gift bags, ribbon and bows -- so I won't preach to the choir on that one. I've never been one to save and re-use wrapping paper, but a lot of it can't be tossed in the recycle bin. Consider saving foil gift wrap for re-use -- plus it's a great craft project material for the kids. Some gift wrap is so darn cute -- I bet if we start saving it, we'll end up finding ways to re-use it.

Don't chuck the greeting cards! Art from the Heart (503-528-0744) and SnowCap Community Charities accept used greeting cards. And SCRAP is offering a workshop tomorrow on creative uses for old cards. Cards with embellishments like foil, glitter and plastic can't be recycled.

Using LED Christmas lights! LED lights supposedly last forever and they are far more energy-efficient than the incandescents. I really, really wanted to do this, so I went over to A-Boy to check out the selection. Maybe they didn't have a great selection. I found solid green or solid blue lights for $10 for a 35-light strand. They also had multi-colored lights, but the colors looked a little garish. The Tribune says you can get a strand of 100 white LEDs for around $30. I usually use about 8-10 strands of lights on our tree. Gulp. If they really do last for years, I know it's worth it in the end.

(Originally published on ReadySetMom.com)

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