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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.

Price family
Jay Price and his family.

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 great energy-saving holiday tip from UT Knoxville’s faculty and staff:

“One cool green thing we do each year is to hand dip chocolates. My mom makes the centers with as many different ingredients as possible (like raisins or pecans). She then gives them out as gifts to her friends. She doesn’t wrap them—just buys nice boxes for them—then collects as many boxes back as she can for the next go-around.” – Jay Price, coordinator, UT Recycling

“I like to host a couple of holiday potlucks. Everyone is still asked to bring a dish, but we all cook together at my house instead of everyone doing it separately. This way, we pool our resources. The oven can bake several items at once or in a row, and you don’t have to buy an entire bag of Anne Hulsesugar or shaker of sprinkles—we can all use the same products, which means everyone buys less. Half the party is the fun of cooking together—it also makes for some interesting moments of dodging a flying spoon, spilling someone’s drink, and taste-testing a new creation! The rest of the party is enjoying collectively what we’ve made.” – Anne Hulse, coordinator, Programs Abroad