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Fretting that the tree may be the only part of the holiday season that is green?

Experts say household waste often increases more than 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That means the holidays can have a negative impact on the environment.

However, there are ways to make the holidays more environmentally friendly.

“Small changes to our routines can help make the holiday season more fun and less wasteful,” said Gordie Bennett, UT Knoxville’s sustainability manager.

An informal poll of UT Knoxville faculty and staff members found some unique and easy tips for “greening” the holidays this season. Here are two more sustainability-themed holiday tips from UT Knoxville’s faculty and staff:

Mary Anne Hoskins“Three years ago my family decided we were wasting time, money, and energy shopping around for gifts for one another, so we quit. Instead, we all have stockings hung by the chimney with care, and each family member drops a small item in each of the stockings. We all love the new tradition. One by-product of this model is that we all have more time to enjoy get-togethers, musical presentations, and events in the city during the holiday season.” – Mary Anne Hoskins, associate director, College of Arts and Sciences

“After I’m done baking, I turn my oven off but leave the door slightly open, so it heats my home. We also take our Christmas tree to have it mulched at Ijams Nature Center after we’re done with it.” – Alisa Meador, assistant director, Programs Abroad