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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.

Gordie Bennett“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 interesting sustainability-focused holiday tips from UT Knoxville’s faculty and staff:

“We are firm believers in re-gifting. We also use old paper grocery bags as wrapping paper. You can decorate it with stencils and paint, and it may end up being nicer than the gift! Also, as our tree lights fail over time, we replace them with more energy-efficient strands.” – Aly Chapman, laboratory section chief, College of Veterinary Medicine

Gordie Bennett adds: “My personal tip is to skip presents in favor of making a contribution to your loved one’s favorite charity. This reduces waste and helps make the holidays a little nicer for someone in need.”