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Sanitation Commissioner Doherty: “Give More, Waste Less”

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New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty recently distributed the following column in anticipation of the upcoming holidays:

Let’s Celebrate the Holidays, While Protecting the Environment!

By John J. Doherty, Commissioner of Sanitation

‘Tis the season… to celebrate and exchange gifts! And this year, as you enjoy the holidays, remember that you can make them the brightest ever by giving thoughtful gifts that cheer the heart and do not come at the expense of the environment.

In the last few years, Mayor Bloomberg and over eight million New Yorkers have worked very hard to make New York City a greener and more beautiful place in which to live and work. But there’s still much more you can do.

For starters, here are a few suggestions of how you can make your holidays more festive, greener and a lot less wasteful:


  • Give homemade gifts, such as cookies, handicrafts, framed photos.
  • Give entertainment, such as a museum membership, tickets to the movies, the theatre, concerts or to sporting events.
  • Give the gift of learning, such as language or music lessons, classes in cooking, photography, or other favorite hobbies.
  • Give your time or talent, such as baby-sitting, pet-sitting, computer help or home repairs.
  • Give fitness, such as gym memberships, personal training sessions, or classes in dance, yoga or Pilates.
  • Give pampering, such as a massage, facial or manicure and pedicure.
  • Give nature, such as flower seeds to plant next spring.
  • Give that which you no longer need, such as electronics, furniture, clothes in good condition, etc. to charitable organizations that will distribute them among those in need.
  • Give your gifts wrapped in recycled paper. Better yet, reuse gift wrap or create your own by using old calendars, comics, etc.

You may also choose to use an artificial tree instead of a real one. Recycle or reuse gift wrap. Send e-mail greetings rather than paper holiday cards. If you buy greeting cards, make sure they’re made from recycled paper. If you receive cards, recycle them.

For more ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, visit the DSNY website at:

Happy Holidays!

Topics: Sanitation