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List of State Officials - Martin O'Malley, Governor; Anthony Brown, Lt. Governor; Robert Summers, Acting MDE Secretary 

Volume IV, Number 8

 December 2010

eMDE is a quarterly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state. 

Give the Earth a Holiday Present

Back to this issue's cover page 

As you gather with your family and friends to celebrate the holidays, you can give the Earth a present too. Take these simple steps for a greener holiday season. 


  • Buy a live tree with roots that you can plant later instead of cutting one down. Or when buying or cutting down a Christmas tree, commit to planting a new tree in the spring and register it at www.trees.maryland.gov.
  • Get crafty with decorations. Instead of buying plastic or cardboard decorations that you might throw away after the holiday, try using natural, bio-degradable decorations such as berries, popcorn, and outdoor greens.
  • Use candles made of soy, which are clean-burning, soot-free, non- toxic, and last about 30 percent longer.
  • Use low energy lights and timers. LED lights use 90 percent less energy than conventional lights and can save your family up to $50 in energy bills. Placing holiday lights on timers – to go on at dusk and go off at a designated time – can also lower power consumption.


  • Shop and buy locally. Shopping at local businesses for gifts not only supports Maryland families and our State’s economy – it’s also good for our environment. Buying local gift and food products means less packing, less shipping, and reduced carbon emissions. Take the buy local challenge and shop on Maryland’s main streets.
  • Gift certificates for personal services such as a massage, manicure, pedicure, haircut, dinner out, or a museum membership make a great gift, support local businesses, and provide a treat for the recipient.
  • Organically grown fruits and nuts, homemade baked goods, sauces, or other edible items make great gifts.
  • Choose clothing made from natural fibers such as hemp, cotton, and organic wool.


  • Travel wisely. Packing less will help you save gas (and airline luggage fees). Avoiding congestion and driving conservatively on the highway can increase your fuel efficiency by 33 percent. Making sure your car is tuned and tires are properly inflated will help save gas as well.
  • Take public transit or carpool with friends when shopping, running errands, and making holiday visits.
  • Reuse wrapping paper or wrap presents in cloth, old magazines, or the Sunday comics or buy recycled wrapping paper. 
  • Use recycled cards for gift tags.
  • When throwing a party, use reusable utensils, plates, napkins, and tablecloths. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full.

After the Holiday

  • Recycle wrapping paper, boxes, bottles, and cans. Click here for county recycling contact information.
  • Recycle your tree. 

Have a happy and safe holiday season!


©2010 Copyright MDE

Editorial Board
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230