The festive season is here! It’s the time of the year many people look forward to for many reasons: extra money, gifts, vacation, parties, shopping, family gatherings etc; however, it is, unfortunately, the most wasteful time of the year. This the time when persons get rid of items they no longer want in pursuit of new stuff. As you would imagine, the festive season has huge environmental impacts, not only in terms of solid waste but water and energy wastage as well. With all the cleaning, washing and lighting up, many persons are bound to incur high water and electricity bills. However, it doesn’t have to be that wasteful. Prudent planning and wise use of resources can go a far way in not only saving you some much-needed cash for the new year but also reducing the negative environmental impacts.Smart tips for a clean and healthy holiday seasonSome ways we can make small changes but have a big impact:Have a budget Carefully assess your needs and make a budget. Weigh your needs versus your wants and prioritise based on the amount of money you have to spend. Remember, you don’t need to buy everything in this one month. Make your shopping list and stick to it; avoid impulse shopping at all cost.Get creative! This is a good time to get creative and make some of your own Christmas décor and gifts. The EPA would have provided tips on upcycling techniques in the past but there is also YouTube where you can learn to make attractive decorations. CD’s, cardboards, mason jars, glass and plastic bottles and many other items around the home can be creatively transformed.Look for energy-efficient lights and if you can, use automatic timers to turn on and offThis will help you to conserve energy and most of all, save you some needed cash for after the holidays. Also, remember only to plug in your lights when you are home, never leave them unattended. It also reduces the risk of fires.Choose reusable over disposal Planning parties, family gatherings or holiday dinners? Choose elegant reusable items; there is nothing classier than great tableware. You will not only reduce waste but have durable items to last all year through.Choose live plants over artificial ones Live plants look exquisite and they not only beautify your yard and space but also help to purify the air. Once you invest in plants and take care of them, you don’t have to purchase more next year.Keep it simple One thoughtful gift is better than six wrapped packages of unwanted gifts. Plan ahead.Give the gift of experience Music lessons, gift voucher, lessons for a new hobby, a massage, a trip to a resort or one of Guyana’s Protected Areas. This is perfect for friends who want to try something new and the best part is you don’t have to wrap the gift.Give a monetary donation to a local charity and environmental club in your community so they can execute projects that would enhance the community.Make gift-giving a bit fun this year, don’t wrap gifts Hide them and give the recipient clues. Make the search a treasure hunt.Donate Give used items in good condition such as books, clothing and equipment to persons in need or charitable organisations instead of throwing them out. This will go a far way in reducing waste.Dispose of your waste properly! After you would have cleaned or acquired new items for your home, office or store, ensure you don’t throw huge piles of garbage, boxes etc on the parapet or in front of your office or business. Please dispose of your waste properly.