The holidays are a time of joy and celebration, of getting together with family and friends and sharing the gifts of the season. The holidays are also a time when North Americans produce 25% more waste than any other time of the year, which equates to 25 million extra tons of garbage going to the landfill. Ho! Ho! Holy crap! This season, we’re sharing a few favorite tips from the Whole Foods Market Green Mission Team to help us all reduce our holiday waste. We know our customers are some of the greenest folks around, so please share your tips with us too. Hopefully we’ll help each other discover new and creative ways to live lighter on the planet this holiday season. Christmas Trees More than 50 million trees are sold each Christmas and it’s estimated that 30 million of those end up in our landfills. This year, make mulching your mantra. Simple changes with big impact: •Buy a real, cut tree from a sustainable source. Go local if available. •Avoid trees sprayed with chemical preservatives to protect indoor air quality. •After the holiday, have your tree mulched into wood shavings for use in local parks and forests. Many community organizations offer drop-off or collection service. •Avoid flocked or spray painted trees and don’t decorate with tinsel since these cannot be ground for mulch. •Choose a live, potted tree with its roots still attached from an ecologically sustainable source and plant it in your yard after Christmas. •If planting a live tree after the holidays, dig your hole for the tree before the ground freezes. Fill the hole with leaves and cover it. Then after the holidays, you simply rake out the leaves and place the balled tree into the hole. Back fill it with compost. It will do fine until the springtime when you can add water and any other necessary soil amendments. •Avoid artificial trees that are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a particularly toxic plastic, and these trees are typically not recyclable. Do you have tips for a green approach to the Christmas tree? Share them!