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During the holiday season, consider giving a gift that gives twice. Make a commitment to make simple changes that will help save money and energy and also promote positive change.

Bring Your own bag. Each year, the United States uses billions of plastic bags. They are not biodegradable and are making their way into our oceans and landfills. De-clutter your pantry and cabinets of plastic bags by going with reusable bags. Stronger, reusable bags are a simple option that can also be easily cleaned by putting them through the washing machine.

Eat closer to home. If you must eat out, choose a restaurant that requires less traveling time. Also, help reduce the amount of fossil fuels used to transport and package groceries by choosing local markets.

Cancel catalog subscriptions. Getting catalogs for items or services you’ve never signed up for or have a subscription you no longer read? and are two available choices to opt out of catalog subscriptions. Or download PaperKarma on your phone or tablet to help control your mailbox and stop unwanted paper mail.

Go digital. You can do almost anything online nowadays. Buy electronic gift cards. Send holiday e-cards and videos. Download software. You can even board a plane or train with your mobile phone. Choose the route with less material and paper waste by downloading the GoPass app for commuting services provided by DART, the T, TRE and DCTA.

Plant native species. Local native plants, trees and flowers can naturally handle the heat, cold, humidity or wind. Planting natives also invites the local pollinators back into your area, which works in tandem with the climate and soils.

Pre-cycle before recycling. By using a reusable container, you are preventing that item from ending up the refuse stream. Also, recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent.

Donations to charities. Can’t decide on what to gift your friends and family that seem to have everything already? Opt to donate on their behalf to organizations that focus on the environment. The Charity Navigator is a great place to start when researching organizations.

Maintain your vehicle. Pampering your car is ultimately pampering yourself. A properly maintained vehicle, clean air filters and inflated tires can greatly improve your vehicle’s performance. And it might not hurt to clean out the trunk – all that extra weight could be costing you at the pump. Visit for more tips.

By improving your own surroundings, you can be sure to have a holiday season to remember and plenty of ways to influence the start of your next year, too. Give yourself and the environment a gift by taking action on these tips


Courtesy of the North Central Texas Council Governments.



For more stories like this read Natural Awakenings Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex magazine at

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