County Launches Campaign to Encourage Green Gift-Giving this Holiday Season

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched a campaign Friday called “Gift Outside the Box” to motivate sustainable gift-giving this holiday season. 

The campaign kickoff took place at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Rockville. 

The campaign centers on five ideas for greener gifts: 

  1. Buy local
  2. Gift experiences, not items
  3. Gift “green” items like reusable water bottles
  4. Give back by gifting to a charity
  5. Buy gifts made from recycled/reused materials and reduce gift wrapping 

“One of the most important things to bear in mind, and we talk about this a lot in the department, is that everybody can do something to make a difference,” DEP Director Adam Ortiz said. 

“Every behavior, large or small, can have a positive impact, not just on the environment but also in social relations and how we relate to each other in this society.” 

Eileen Kao, also with the DEP, offered ideas to county residents who want to be environmentally conscious. 

“Also, think about the gifts you’re selecting for folks … buy local whenever possible, but also maybe think about gifts that don’t create any additional waste,” Kao said. 

She even suggested that people offer themselves as a gift.

“For example, maybe you’ve got relatives who have small children and they really want to go away for the weekend. Maybe you could give them, of yourself, an offer to babysit for the weekend,” Kao said. 

The kickoff was held on the same day as America Recycles Day.

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Maryam Shahzad

About Maryam Shahzad

Maryam is a reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She graduated from the University of Maryland in December with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Previously, she was an intern with MCM. Maryam loves visual media and always says the movie is better than the book. She can be reached at or on Twitter @maryam_mcm.


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