Green Toolbox for Growing Sustainable Municipalities--December 2013

From UNSM' Municipal Sustainability Office--December 2013


During this holiday season, we need to show extra care for the environment.  With a little effort and imagination, we can significantly reduce the impact of our holiday activities and purchases.  Here are a few borrowed tips to help make this holiday season “green”:

  • Send an e-card to wish your staff and constituents happy holidays -  it’s cost-effective, can be personalized and produces no waste.
  • Green your office party - select organic and local food, send out e-invites, avoid using disposable crockery, cutlery and glassware, asWording for Articlek AV suppliers to use LED lighting only and/or create a Christmas tree by using recycled material (a great team challenge)
  • Buy recycled wrapping paper and use natural materials such as raffia, string and dried flowers to decorate presents. You can even try wrapping gifts in old maps, comic pages or reusable items such as scarves or tea towels (for other creative ideas), click here.
  • The “greenest” gifts are no gifts at all.  Consider organizing an activity that you can do together as a staff – this way you can enjoy other’s company and not have to take stuff home that you may not use.  
  • Consider buying fair-trade products, organic treats and other eco-friendly gifts for your co-workers, such as an iPhone solar recharging case or solar powered bike lights for getting back and forth to work safely (for more “green” gift ideas, visit: and
  • Consider donating to a charity or environmental organization rather than exchanging
    gifts with co-workers.
  • Organize a recycling gift drive by inviting your co-workers to bring in any gifts they do not want or never use, or old toys their kids have grown and donate them to a local charity.
  • Use LED lights to decorate your office and municipal Christmas trees as they are 90% more energy efficient than incandescent lights.
  • Remember to turn off your holiday lights when you leave at night. This will save money on your energy bill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Regenerate over the holidays - make sure you take time with family and friends to reinvigorate and recharge while away from the office.
  • Make a “green” New Year's resolution before returning to work in 2014.

For more information about the initiatives included in the Green Toolbox,Christmas Tree please contact Debbie Nielsen, Municipal Sustainability Coordinator at 423-8312 or e-mail: