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Celebrate A Green Christmas with Clean Green Rush 

Green Christmas Decoration

If you are at all artistic or crafty it can be great fun to make your own Christmas decorations, cards and stocking fillers. Here are a few ideas.

Pine cones can be "improved" with a little paint, glitter or artificial snow.  Just attach a small piece of ribbon with some hot glue. 

Homemade Christmas decorations such as stars and moons can be made for your tree with standard play dough or construction paper. Use cookie cutters or stencils for shapes. Be Creative!

Send Green Christmas Cards. There are now lots of charities which sell cards for a variety of good causes.  If you really want to by-pass all that envelope stuffing, send an e-card. This isn't so great if you like to display your cards, but it's a great way to be a little more environmentally conscientious.  Homemade Christmas Cards are easy to make. Recycled coloured paper or card, glitter, scissors, glue pens or sticks and a few fancy coloured pens are all you really need. Be Creative!

Gift Wrapping. Homemade wrapping paper is cheap to make. Use stencils and brightly colored paint to liven up your paper. Large sheets of thin white paper are generally cheaper than all but the cheapest of wrapping papers. If you save re-usable bits of wrapping paper you can use it for cut outs to stick on your homemade paper.  Use the newspaper comic strips, the full-color comics are already decorated for you.  Use Cloth Gift Bags. If you can sew a straight line with a sewing machine, use old pillowcases, sheets, curtains and any other material you have lying around to make cloth gift bags. You can make them to fit specific gifts. Re-use Wrapping Paper, Boxes and Gift Bags. If you saved any of last year’s wrapping paper, you can re-use paper that’s not torn or damaged. Gift boxes often don’t even need to be wrapped in additional paper and are easy to save and store to use for next year. Gift bags, especially, can be re-used again and again. Just be sure to save them from the trash when it’s time to clean up all the wrapping paper! Recycled Gift Tags. To make gift tags for your presents, look through your old Christmas cards and cut out pictures. Recycle What You Can’t Reuse. To reduce those bags of garbage, don’t crumple up the gift wrap and stuff it into plastic bags. Take a few extra minutes to flatten it, fold it and put it in the recycling bin. It won’t take away from your holiday cheer and will spread some good will towards the Earth. Eco-friendly gift boxes and gift bags can be found at Tiny Box Company. This company is the only company in the US that uses 100 percent recyclable products in the production of their gift boxes and bags.

Buy Energy-Saving "LED" Christmas Lights.  You can decorate your house with LED lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights, and can save up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season! LED lights are available at many major retailers. Some retailers sell LED’s at a discounted price when you bring in your old Christmas lights for recycling!


Buy an organically farmed turkey or goose.  Whether you prefer turkey or ham, check out a local supplier and find some good organic food. The best birds are grown slowly and are well fed with organic food. They are allowed to roam free and have access to natural foods as well as eating carefully formulated organic feed.  Wild meat is also a very green and sustainable. Wild fowl is far lower in fat than most farmed birds.

Vegetarian Christmas meal.  An organic nut roast is a very acceptable alternative to most vegetarians.  Create your own organic Christmas mincemeat. This is a fun job, especially if the kids help. Homemade mincemeat is far more flavorsome than the store bought stuff. Organic Christmas recipes.

 Homemade Cooking.  Nicely presented homemade cookies, chocolates, truffles, tarts and any other tasty goodies are always very popular. Present them in a reusable basket, box, jar or cloth bag.


Give Environmentally Friendly Gifts During the Holidays. Recycling, handcrafting, buying locally and giving experiences as gifts are all easy and fun ways to have an environmentally friendly holiday. For many, Christmas is a time to pull out all the stops when it comes to gift-giving. With growing awareness of the risks involved with burning large amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture, package and transport goods, many people are looking for ways to "green" their lifestyle. Going green can be a powerful statement of your beliefs. When you are trying to pick out a green gift, give the recipient something they need; this may seem obvious, but buying people necessities is much more environmentally friendly than giving them "stuff". Buying necessities doesn't have to be dull or boring. Here are some ideas to help you and your family have a green Christmas this year.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  Instead of buying something brand-new, try making gifts and wrapping by using recycled or salvaged materials. Gift bags can be made by using scrap pieces of colorful cloth. Instead of buying a brand new book or CD, see if you can find one in good condition at a second-hand bookstore.  Be creative! Going green means you're saving useful materials from the landfill and avoiding the environmental impact of buying something brand new.

Give Handmade Gifts.  Ask yourself what kind of crafty skills you have, and use those skills to make gifts for friends and family. Most people are happy to receive a handcrafted gift because of the investment of time, love, and creative energy it represents. If you excel in the kitchen, try making preserves, cakes, pies or bread. If you like to work with wood, use your skills to craft a CD racks, spice shelves, or piece of furniture. If you knit, try stuffing a pair of hand knit socks into a stocking this year. If you're not comfortable making gifts, or lack the time, you can give something green by buying products made locally. Buying gifts made by local artisans and craftspeople support the artists in your community and boosts your local economy, as well as avoiding the carbon emissions caused by shipping. Be Creative! 

Share an Experience.  What do you give those people who have everything? Instead of buying them another gadget that they might already have and probably don't really need, give them an experience. An afternoon of horseback riding, a massage or pedicure, a session in a pottery studio or tickets to a concert or play are all environmentally friendly gift ideas. Many gifts given each Christmas end up buried in the back of the closet by January, and eventually make their way to the landfill, but an experience will last forever in someone's memory. Be Creative! 

An internet subscription to a magazine or news service is good for saving paper. Online subscriptions have the added advantage of links to archives and to other web sites.

Give Something to Encourage Self-Sustainability.  Gifts such as packets of tomato seeds or newspaper pot makers encourage the recipient to buy less in the future, as well as teaching valuable and rewarding life skills.

Gifts With HumanityImagine taking discarded flip-flops, cleaning them up and converting them into pieces of art. The organization Gifts With Humanity is doing their part to make that happen. Kenyan artisans have created colorful coffee table art, mantelpiece figurines and hip reusable jewelry with the unused flip-flops. The artisans, for the most part, are financially underprivileged individuals who collect, clean, and turn the old discarded flip-flops into beautiful pieces of art. The process of transforming these otherwise land pollutants is the means by which they earn money to put food on the table. Gifts With Humanity is making a difference, one purchase at a time. They are doing their part to help communities worldwide by providing a place where these goods can be sold. Anyone with an internet connection can take a look at the gifts offered by Gifts With Humanity. You can browse through the unique collection of gifts ranging from attractive bowls made in South Africa from discarded telephone wire, to hand bags from the Philippians made out of old juice boxes. These unique items add a whole new meaning to social and environmental awareness. For the truly difficult to please person, a Gifts With Humanity gift might be the answer.

Give Gifts to Change Habits.  These days everyone is aware of the environmental impact of disposable products, however, sometimes it can take a little push to get someone to make the change. Many green living alternatives are simpler, cheaper, and more enjoyable than the mainstream way. Providing the means to change can be welcomed by the friend who simply hasn't gotten around to making the switch. Canvas tote bags for the supermarket are a green alternative to plastic bags, cloth napkins, or a picnic set with reusable cutlery and crockery, to just name a few.

Give A Gift With Love.  As sneaky as some of the above tips appear, the idea is not to judge or force ecological awareness on the recipient. Make sure the present is something the recipient will love. If you can't think of any “eco-gifts” that would be appreciated, try a voucher for some fun activity, perhaps a wildlife park, or zoo.

 Other Gift Ideas.

  • Buy a cloth grocery tote; help reduce the presence of plastic bags in landfills that can take thousands of years to decompose. Your loved ones will think of you every time they shop for groceries.
  • Do you have a book lover on your list? Then pick a book focused on energy reduction, alternative technologies, or sustainable practices.
  • Shop for organic bath sets or organic-based make-up products.
  • Consider glassware made from recycled glass.
  • Maybe this is the year you make some of your presents. Do you knit, paint, carve?
  • Give the ultimate gift and feed a family, plant a tree, or save an acre of rainforest. Unusual gift opportunities abound, like those from Heifer International and Project Concern. More information is also available at Alternative Gifts International.

Eco-Friendly Places to Buy Gifts this Christmas Season

  1. offers a wide variety of gifts, all made from recycled, reused, or all natural materials. The site showcases everything from wonderful multi-colored telephone wire baskets, to purses made of vintage record album covers. Even children’s items, like stuffed animals made from recycled sweaters, and handmade knit dolls.
  2. offers eco-friendly green gifts, which range from modern recycling systems, to solar powered backyard lighting, sure to excite any environmentalist.
  3. is a site that’s all about inspiration. Environmentally sound products ranging from carved stone wall plaques, to tiny, intricate treasure boxes, feature inspiring quotes, and artwork from around the planet.
  4. features a wide variety of organic wines, and gourmet products. From organic chocolates, to organic fruits and nuts, as well as fine organic bath products for the home spa, this site has everything needed to pamper the person who has chosen a green lifestyle.
  5. features many “fair trade” products. These products are made by locals in areas such as Rwanda, and Columbia, where workers are given alternatives to poaching, by having opportunities to work for a fair wage, and produce goods that are being sold around the world. From the “Rwanda Peace Fortunes” to the “Groovy Finger Puppets” for children, purchases of these products go back into the local economy, and provide viable alternatives for natives of these regions.
  6. offers a selection of gifts for mom and baby. The web-sites mission statement reads “We believe that everyday is a new chance to make the best choices for our children, their future and the world we live in.” Gift selections include “Organic Softies”, pixies or best friends. These huggable dolls are available in different colors and styles.
  7. is a excellent source for innovative and exclusive products, that support and sustain the environment. From the “Wattson” a gadget which measure the exact amount of energy use in your home, to the Luau Portable Lantern, this site offers a variety of gifts for both children and adults.
  8. offers a wide selection of eco-friendly and organic fashions, from tee shirts to dresses and skirts. Also find hand crocheted, sweatshop free hats, scarves, and ponchos, plus blown glass items and much more.
  9. is a huge on-line resource list of eco-friendly gifts and products. Covering items from bathroom accessories to sports and play equipment, everyone is sure to find something on this list of products.

Also, check out & for hundreds of green gift ideas.



Join the Freecycle Network

 CGR -Freecycle NetworkFreecycle Network is a Yahoo group matches people who have things they need to get rid of with people who can use them. The goal is to keep usable items out of the landfill. By using what we already have on this earth, we reduce consumerism, manufacture fewer goods, and lessen the impact on the earth. Another benefit of using Freecycle is that it encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process. Free your inner pack rat!

Freezers, Refrigerators, and A/C Units

CGR - recycle appliancesRush County residents may bring freezers, refrigerators, air conditioning units, and other products containing refrigerant gasses to the Clean Green Rush Tox-Away Center for recycling. Since this is a new service, there is no charge; however it is only available from 8 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of each month. No longer will residents have to wait until a special spring or fall collection of proper disposal. Clean Green Rush continues its partnership with the City of Rushville in operating the Tox-Away Center at Smiley Avenue. Street Department employee, Bill Emerson is licensed to remove and recycle the refrigerants in an environmentally approved process.

Still Taking Electronics for Recycling

Another partner for helping to keep Rush County Clean and Green is Shares, Inc. Their truck stops each month and collects electronics (anything with a circuit board) dropped off at the Tox-Away Center on the first Saturday morning of every month.  All electronics will be accepted at no cost.

  Keeping Rush County Clean and Green is more than one-day collection events, classroom programs and recycling plastic, paper, metal and glass. It is a lifestyle of caring about the place we live enough to do the little things daily that protect the environment and maintain the legacy of 205,000 acres of prime cropland and the communities it helps to support

Living Greener Blog
for Rush County, Indiana

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Celebrate a Green Christmas
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Earth Day 2010 (12/15/09)
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