Menlo Spark

Between Thanksgiving and the new year, Americans throw away 25% more trash. The season, fraught with over-indulgence and consumerism, can be made made more sustainable — and potentially less stressful. Here are seven tips to have a more eco-friendly holiday season.

-Reuse odds and ends for more environmentally friendly wrapping paper

There are many ways to wrap your gifts with more eco-friendly options. Through the year, save odds and ends like tissue paper, ribbons and boxes. Use old newspapers and maps to wrap your gifts, or invest in gift bags you reuse many times. Or forgo gifts, and give experiences instead!

-Go green with you holiday cards

Holiday cards are a great way to send season greetings to close family, but they often get thrown out after the holiday season. Think about using an e-card instead, or even sending text messages.

-Planning a party? Use reusable dishes to go zero waste

Substitute those single use plastic dishes for reusable ones Some cities, like Palo Alto, have Party Pack programs for people to borrow extra reusable dishes. Or, use what you have at home, or ask guests to bring their own. If you must go single use, use more eco-friendly alternatives like compostable bamboo utensils.

-Plan your vacation to a more sustainable location

Research vacation destinations with commitments to sustainability like energy efficiency, grey water recycling programs and biodegradable materials. If you are flying long distances, look into carbon offset programs.

-Use LED lights

LED lights use 1/10 the amount of electricity than normal holiday lights, while still looking great! They last longer, meaning more time between purchase and recycling.

-Reduce food waste

On average, Americans waste 5 million more pounds of food between Thanksgiving and the new year. Help reduce this by careful meal planning, eating leftovers, or donating extra food to your local homeless shelter. Skip the fruitcake entirely!

Diane Bailey is Executive Director of Menlo Spark, an independent nonprofit working to help Menlo Park become climate neutral by 2025,

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Artist Michael Killen speaks on climate change at Menlo Spark event on July 9

Menlo Spark is hosting a program featuring climate change artist Michael Killen on Tuesday, July 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park. Attendees can learn about Menlo Park’s Fossil Free Buildings Campaign while view Killen’s new collection “Search for Climate Solutions.” A Menlo Park resident, Killen has displayed large paintings […]

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Change comes hard for most people. It can be scary, unsettling, and disruptive. But change is happening all around us, all the time. Our beautiful town by the bay has been at the epicenter of dramatic regional growth in the past few decades, bringing new people, culture, and jobs, but also traffic, pollution, and a […]

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County-wide greenbuilding efforts & new guide available for zero carbon commercial construction

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Chris DeCardy reflects on his eight years on Menlo Park’s Environment Quality Commission

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Menlo Park celebrates Earth Day in numerous ways and places, thanks to Menlo Spark

Menlo Spark is doing some fun events this week in Menlo Park for earth day. Last Tuesday, we helped students at Oak Knoll Elementary School make pledges for one thing they’ll do for Earth Day this year, posting those pledges, making a paper tree (below left).  Oak Knoll faculty and parent volunteers have done an […]

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Spark Green 2018 climate action campaign runs from Jan. 29th through March 2nd

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Facebook switches to 100% renewable energy through Peninsula Clean Energy’s ECO100 option

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Two Menlo-Atherton High School students are “climate heroes”

Emails Diane Bailey of Menlo Spark: “Two students at Menlo-Atherton High School, Tyler Lewis (pictured) and Henry Marks, have shown how youth can lead the way to a more sustainable future, winning the Menlo Green Challenge this Spring. We are delighted to award them Eco Reco electric scooters for their climate action efforts! The Menlo […]

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