Omaha Public Radio News
3:30 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Sustainability Tips from UNO

Omaha, NE – With the end of the year rapidly approaching, UNO's Sustainability Force reminds people that the holidays are a good time to start creating a greener environment.

Patrick Wheeler, Senior Specialist in Environmental Health and Safety at UNO, says one thing you can do is recycle Christmas lights rather than throwing them out. He also advocates getting rid of clutter and donating items to family, friends or local needs-based charities.

Wheeler says another way to practice sustainability is to recycle that Christmas tree.

"Your Christmas tree can be recycled at a number of drop off sites here in town, or if you'd rather not just dump it off a site where it will be chewed up and turned into compost, you can place it in your yard and decorate it with pine cones, loaded up with peanut butter and bird seed. It actually gives shelter to birds in the winter season."

Wheeler says you can create a greener environment for yourself and your family in 2012 through a variety of little changes.

He says start by de-cluttering your home. People tend to hang on to unused items. Wheeler says when we store things that are not being actively used; we are depriving others of their usefulness. He advocates figuring out what you don't need anymore and giving it to a charity or family member so they can use it.

"There are lots of things you can do for low or no cost. Get into the habit of turning off the lights when you are not in a room. If you turn down your thermostat in the winter by two degrees and turn it up by two degrees in the summer, you can save 10% of your total energy cost. We've gotten away from this as people, but you can hang laundry to dry. If you hang it indoors in the winter time, it really helps to raise the humidity level in your house."

Oppd.com has tips for improving energy efficiency in your home. Wheeler says information on how and where to recycle goods is available online at earth911.com.