How to Have a Green Holiday in Queens

The holiday season is a time to let your loved ones know you care, and this year, why don’t you let Mother Nature know you care, too! Here are some wonderful tips to help you do just that!

  • What is a gift without wrapping paper or a gift bag? If you’re looking to go easy on your wallet, a great way to save some green and go green is to wrap presents in newspapers. If you don’t get the paper, many companies now make their wrapping paper from recycled paper, so look for that information on their label. Not all wrapping paper is recyclable, so make sure the brand you buy is. Gift bags can easily be recycled by saving them and using them again!
  • If you have procrastinated on sending out your holiday cards, don’t worry! In a matter of seconds you can have a card sent to your friends and family, saving time and trees! Several websites offer e-cards, but one especially great site is Paperless Post. You can create a holiday picture e-card for free. They also have options you can pay for. In addition to holiday cards, you can use them to send thank-you notes, invitations and many other types of cards. The fee they charge is nominal if you think about the time and money you spend buying cards, addressing them and mailing them, and it’s a wonderful green option!
  • Lights add a lot of joy to this time of year, but they also add a lot to your electric bill. To cut back on your energy use, turn off lights and other holiday decorations that require energy during daylight hours and before you go to bed at night.
  • As much as possible, buy organic and fair trade products for your holiday meal. Here are some wonderful stores in Queens where you can find a variety of these items:
    • Broadway Natural: 3011 Broadway, Astoria 11106; (718) 545-1100
    • Sai Organic: 3021 30th Ave., Astoria 11102; (718) 278-1726
    • The Food Cellar: 4-85 47th Rd., Long Island City 11101; (718) 606-9786
    • The Queens Health Emporium: 15901 Horace Harding Expressway Fresh Meadows 11365; (718) 358-6500
    • Organic World: 10337 Queens Boulevard, Flushing 11375 (718) 896-1590  ‎
    • Health Bay Natural: 161-30 Crossbay Blvd., Howard Beach 11414; (718) 845-0517
    • Trader Joe’s: 90-30 Metropolitan Ave., Rego Park 11374; (718) 275-1791
  • After the holidays are over, one of the most important questions is “What do I do with this tree?” Here are two great options!
    • New York City offers curbside pick-up of CLEAN (no ornaments, tinsel, etc.) Christmas trees from January 3 – 14. These trees are chipped, mixed with other plant material, and composted. The compost is used in the city’s parks,  institutions and community gardens.
    • Mulchfest 2012 is another wonderful option. On January 7th and 8th from   10:00-12:00 you can bring your clean tree to any of the Queens locations listed below, and it will be chipped for mulch. This mulch will be used in community parks, but at locations followed by an asterisk (*) you can bring a bag and take home some mulch of your own. The locations that say “Drop-off only” are accepting tree drop-offs January 2-8. For more information on this event, as well as helpful information on the uses and benefits of mulch, check out this site.

Mulchfest 2012 Locations:

  • Astoria Park*: 19th Street & Hoyt Avenue
  • Brookville Park*: Brookville Boulevard between 144th Avenue & Caney Road
  • Cunningham Park*: Visitor Parking Lot & 196th Street
  • Forest Park Bandshell*: Forest Park Drive, west of Woodhaven Boulevard
  • Juniper Valley Park*: 80th Street between Juniper Boulevards North & South
  • Kissena Park (Sunday Only)* : 164th Street at Underhill Avenue
  • Kissena Park (Saturday Only) 164th Street at Underhill Avenue – Drop-off only
  • Land Restoration Project Compound*: Queens Plaza South & 10th Street
  • Rockaway Beach: Shore Front Parkway & Beach 94th Street – Drop-off only
  • Roy Wilkins Park: Park entrance at Merrick and Foch Boulevards – Drop-off only
  • Travers Park*: 78th Street at 34th Avenue



Megan Ross