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Friday, December 14, 2012

Don’t Trash the Holidays

Let the holidays fill your heart, not your trash can.

The holidays are a season for giving, but also a good time to think about waste reduction. We often end up sending large gifts of holiday discards to the landfill. Gift wrap, packaging and party goods add up to truckloads of extra garbage. Start your own traditions to reduce, reuse and recycle your holiday trash.

Green holiday tips:
  • Save holiday wrappings such as gift bags, ribbons, bows, boxes and plastic peanuts to use again.
  • Replace incandescent Christmas lights with energy efficient LED lights.
  • Give eco-friendly gifts such as a fishing license or movie tickets instead of “stuff” that will ultimately be tossed.
  • Buy rechargeable batteries and a battery charger to accompany electronic gifts.
  • Draw names for family giving instead of buying for everyone.
  • Find a new home for usable items that have been replaced by visiting our A to Z “Get Rid of It” Guide at
  • Entertain with reusable dishes, silverware and cloth napkins instead of disposable items.
  • Recycle gift wrap, tissue paper or greeting cards with “mixed paper” at curbside or drop-off. For a list of local recycling programs, visit
  • Buy paper items, such as greeting cards, with recycled content.
  • Set up a recycling bin for cans and bottles if you host a holiday party.
  • Reuse an artificial tree, or recycle a “real” Christmas tree. Most cities in Pinellas County collect trees for recycling either at curbside or drop-off sites.

Visit for more valuable tips to cut holiday waste.

For more information on recycling, contact Pinellas County Solid Waste at (727) 464-7500, or visit

For more information on Pinellas County services and programs, visit or create a shortcut to on any smartphone. Pinellas County government is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Gifts to Get Your Kids Moving

Nan Jensen  
Family and Consumer Science  

The holiday season is here and you may still have a few gifts to buy. Consider a gift for the kids that they’ll enjoy and one that can promote good health at the same time.

Here are some suggestions.

Get them moving with “active” toys and sports equipment.
Encourage physical activity with toys that get them moving. Go for active toys and sports equipment. Jump ropes, hula hoops, soccer balls, basketballs, bicycles, and skateboards will fit the bill. Remember the appropriate safety gear for each.

Interactive video games
Since most kids love videogames why not get them a videogame they’ll use and also gets them up and moving? Three of the most popular are the Sony Move, Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii. All of these devices use the child’s movements as the action for the game.

Gift certificates
How about a gift certificate to a facility that offers youth-oriented sessions so your child can have fun with kids his or her own age? Gymnastics, dance classes, sports activities, and rock climbing walls are just some of the many activities offered.

Get them outdoors with camping equipment
To help spark children’s interest in outdoor activities, consider a purchase of equipment that will get them fishing, hiking and camping. Make it a family affair and plan a vacation outdoors.

The gift of active time
Spending time with family is one of the best gifts you can give so why not make it active time? Family park day, swim day or bike day are all great ways to encourage children to be active. Parents should be role models. Research shows that kids who see their parents exercise are more likely to exercise themselves. Here in Pinellas County we have some incredible parks. Check out the city where you live or enjoy Pinellas County Parks. For a listing go to