WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For many Americans, the holiday season is the happiest time of year—but it can also be the most wasteful. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate approximately 25 percent more waste—an extra million tons—between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
But consumers who tread lightly on the earth during the year don't have to abandon their green lifestyle to enjoy the festivities.
"Year-end holidays are a great time to remind ourselves that we all have a responsibility to take care of each other and our world," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council, which sponsors the Plastics Make it Possible® initiative. "We all can do our part to lighten the load on the environment during the holidays by taking simple steps, such as recycling everything we can and looking for gifts made with recycled materials."
Plastics Make it Possible® offers some simple tips for lightening your environmental footprint while giving thanks, giving gifts, and ringing in the new year:
- The Tree: An evergreen tree is a cherished part of the holiday season for many, but growing, harvesting, transporting, and then discarding a tree—every year—can take a toll. An artificial tree made with plastics lasts for years, reducing waste, water use, and cleanup—and it can be displayed for months without the worry of a dry tree or falling needles. New technologies have dramatically improved the look and feel of the plastic needles, branches, and trunk, so it's often difficult to see the difference.
- Saving Energy: LED lights, which work for both indoor and outdoor displays, use up to 90 percent less energy—and that can equate to big savings on winter energy bills. LED lights are protected by a lightweight, durable plastic casing that makes them weather-resistant, shatter-resistant, and easy to hang. LEDs produce much less heat than a glowing filament—and the plastic casing also is heat-resistant—so the lights remain cool to the touch, even after running for hours.
- Sustainable Decorations: It's becoming easier than ever to find holiday decorations made with recycled plastics. One ornament set made with clear recycled plastics allows consumers to place small decorative objects inside each ornament for a customized look. In addition, a number of websites offer tips on how to reuse common household materials to fashion your own ornaments and decorations.
- Meals: Elaborate holiday meals and celebrations can mean lots of leftovers. Promptly refrigerating food in airtight, re-sealable plastic storage containers or bags can help keep leftovers fresh and reduce food waste. Storage containers made with recycled plastics are now available from a variety of retailers. And plastic zipper bags or used tubs from margarine or cottage cheese are a great way to send leftovers home with family and friends after the meal.
- Green Gifts: Consider giving gifts made with recycled plastics. Plastics recycling has grown significantly, so it's easier than ever to find high-quality products—such as clothing, fashion accessories, children's toys, furniture, and electronics—that contain recycled plastics. There are all sorts of recycled plastic gift options for everyone in the family, so consumers can give something good while doing something good.
- Recycle, Recycle, Recycle: Recycling programs vary across the country, but it's easy for consumers to find out which plastics are accepted for recycling in their community. Placing a clearly labeled recycling bin or bag next to the trashcan at holiday parties makes recycling easy for guests. Plastic bags and wraps can be returned to participating grocery and retail store locations (such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Lowe's) for recycling. And consumers can close the recycling loop by looking for durable tableware made with recycled plastics.
For more information, visit plasticsmakeitpossible.com.
About Plastics Make it Possible®
Plastics Make it Possible® highlights the many ways plastics inspire innovations that improve our lives, solve big problems, and help us design a safer, more promising future. This initiative is sponsored by America's Plastics MakersTM of the American Chemistry Council. For more information, visit www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com, check out our Facebook page and follow us @plasticpossible on twitter at www.twitter.com/plasticpossible.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $760 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the largest exporting sector in the U.S., accounting for 12 percent of U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.
Contact: Jennifer Killinger (202) 249-6619
SOURCE Plastics Make it Possible