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Holiday giving can have a green twist

Sustainability experts say it's easy to make your holidays a little greener this year. If every family in the U.S. saved 2 feet of ribbon, it could tie a bow around the Earth, one expert says.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The holidays don't have to put a crimp in your green lifestyle.

Dennis Johnson loaded up a real Christmas tree at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, but – with the exception of the tree – he said he tries to keep his holiday environmentally friendly.

"I pretty much do real trees every year. I like the smell of them in the home,” Johnson said.

However, he does do his share of greening.

"I try to conserve, like (with) paper, year after year. Some people throw it away,” Johnson said.

Sustainability experts say it is easy to make your holidays a little greener.

David Dean, North Carolina State University's outreach coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, says Johnson is on the right track – reusing gift wrapping and supplies.

"If every family in the U.S. would save 2 feet of ribbon, we could tie a bow around the Earth,” Dean said.

That would be a lot of ribbon that wouldn't end up in landfills. Dean also suggests wrapping your presents with old newspapers.

"After you pull it off the present, you can put it in the green trash bin on the street,” Dean said.

Think about using gift bags instead of wrapping presents, and reuse the bags every year. Dean also says that having a green holiday doesn't mean doing without.

"You can give just as much. Giving somebody life and clean air is just as important as giving them a Hallmark card,” he said.

"For the most part, I do the best I can. Because we've got to save the environment,” Johnson said.

Dean also says shopping locally can reduce your carbon footprint.