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From the San Francisco Zoo: 6 Ways to Have a Greener Holiday

I love the San Francisco Zoo.  In fact, I love it SOOOOO much that every time I help someone buy or sell San Francisco real estate, I donate a part of my professional fees directly to the Zoo. 
Prior to my career in the SF real estate biz, I actually used to work at the Zoo, and I strongly believe in their mission of education AND their mission of conservation, not only on a big scale (like when they were a part of the program that brought Bald Eagles back from the brink of extinction) but on a small scale as well, by hosting e-waste recycling events, and teaching people the importance of living a greener lifestyle. 
So, on that note, the SF Zoo has shared a few tips for a greener holiday season in their latest Animail:

1.  GIVE THE GIFT OF A ZOO MEMBERSHIP – THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING ALL YEAR LONG! Cross an entire family off your shopping list at once with the click of a mouse!
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There are many Membership Levels for you to choose from for your gift – all of which pay for themselves in only two visits.
HURRY – ONLINE ORDERS MUST BE PLACED BY DECEMBER 16 TO BE FULFILLED. PURCHASE HERE. Also, come visit us during our gift Membership drive at Stonestown Mall on December 5 & 6. Gift Memberships can also be purchased at the Zoo.
Your friends and family will be surprised to receive such a unique, thoughtful and useful gift. Plus, you have the added satisfaction of supporting a good cause as our Members are a critical source of support for the care of our animals and our conservation and education programs.
Recipients will be thrilled that they can skip the ticket line and visit as often as they like for an entire year. No more pressure to get their admission tickets’ worth by making a fussy toddler stay past his nap time. They can even drop by this urban escape by the ocean on their lunch break to see what’s blooming in the gardens and take a few photos. No two visits are ever the same – they can watch our Zoo babies grow up and build priceless memorable experiences that will last a lifetime. Their family will become closer with each visit to ours.
Thank you for supporting this historic Bay Area family institution that serves to connect people with wildlife, inspire caring for nature and advance conservation action.
2. SEND CARDS AND INVITATIONS ONLINE. The holidays don’t just have to be about buying trees – they can be about saving them, too! There are many Web sites that offer electronic greeting cards and invitations to your holiday events.
3. MAKE YOUR OWN WRAPPING PAPER. Most mass-produced wrapping paper you find in stores is not recyclable and ends up in landfills. Instead, here’s a great chance to get creative! Wrap presents with old maps, the comics section of a newspaper, or children’s artwork. If every family wrapped just three gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
4. BUY ENERGY-SAVING “LED” HOLIDAY LIGHTS. card.JPG (17779 bytes)Now you can decorate your house with LED lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights, and can save your family up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season! LED lights are available at many major retailers, including Target, Costco, and Ace Hardware.
5. GET A PESTICIDE-FREE TREE. Demand is on the rise for Christmas trees that are not covered in chemicals; some growers use 40 different pesticides, as well as chemical colorants. The good news is that there are now a number of tree-farms that sell pesticide-free trees, so ask your local Christmas tree seller, or search for an organic tree farm near you.
6. RECYCLE OR COMPOST YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE. Ninety-eight percent of Christmas trees were grown on farms, not in forests, so at least it’s not as if you’re cutting down an ancient tree. Each year, 10 million Christmas trees end up in the landfill. Many cities offer programs to turn your tree to mulch or wood chips. Call (800) CLEANUP or visit to find the tree-recycling program near you. If you live in a city like San Francisco that has a compost program, you can cut up your tree and put the pieces in your compost bin.
Some items courtesy of the Sierra Club.