Tips for a Green Holiday, Activities for Kids, Contest Winner, and More

NYCU New LogoOpening Message: Spread Holiday Cheer with a Green Texas


Holiday Tips for a Green Texas

It's the holiday season in Texasa time of generosity, festivity, family, and friends. We adorn our homes, celebrate with a special meal, and show our affection by giving to others.

San Antonio River Walk Decorated for the Holidays
The Historic San Antonio River Walk Decorated for the Holidays

Also, during this season many people give thanks for their blessings and their thoughts turn to giving backto making a difference. Here are some easy holiday tips that will protect our air and water and reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfill. No matter how you celebrate the holidays, consider what you can do to have a festive season while conserving our environment. Many of these tips will also save you money!

We'd love to hear about your eco-friendly holiday celebration. Share your story and pictures on social media using the hashtag #TakeCareOfTexas!


Buy decorations that are durable and can be reused. Try to repair broken decorations rather than buying new ones.    

LED Holiday Lights


Use LED lights and set them on a timer to turn on at dark and off at bedtime. LED lights last 20 to 30 years, and require 90 percent less electricity than conventional holiday lights.


33 million live trees are sold in North America each year. Many local governments provide FREE tree recycling. So, if you celebrate the holidays by decorating a tree, check with your local municipal solid waste department to see if there is a program near you. You might also work off a few holiday calories by cutting your tree into pieces that will fit into your compost bin.

Homemade Gift

Shopping and Gifts

Did you know that during the holiday season, people generate 25 percent more waste? Help reduce this amount by buying items made with post-consumer recycled content. Also, you can bring your own bags to the store, buy items with minimal packaging, and consider the lifespan of your purchases.   

Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags

Reduce waste and save money by reusing gift bags and wrapping paper. Also, look for materials that contain post-consumer recycled content. Get creative and wrap gifts in reusable containers like tins, jars, or cloth bags, or buy gifts that require little packaging.


Often, electronics can be repaired. However, if you are unable to do so, be sure to recycle them. Learn more about electronics recycling. You can also donate working items to a second-hand store.

Adjust your thermostat when traveling


Whether you are shopping for holiday goodies or going on a road trip, make sure your tires are adequately inflated and maintain your car properly. Also, carpool, combine several errands into one trip, or take public transportation. Resist the urge to speed as this reduces fuel economy. If you are leaving home for a few days, adjust the thermostat, unplug appliances, and set lights on a timer.

In the Kitchen


Use cloth napkins and reusable plates and utensils. If you must use disposables, look for items made from post-consumer recycled materials. Make sure guests know where you keep your recycle bin.

Food Waste

Food Waste

Wasted food is the largest component of trash in the United States30 million tons each yearcosting the average family of four $1,600 over the course of one year. Buy only what you'll need, send holiday leftovers home with your guests, and compost scraps. Find out more in our Mulching and Composting Guide.

Holiday Border

The Gift of Conservation

Here in Texas, we’re fortunate to have a vast array of wonders to experience, from Goose Island State Park to Big Bend National Park. We can all play a part in preserving our beloved state. This holiday season, give the gift of clean air, water, and land with a Take Care of Texas license plate. It’s a gift for this generation and for all those who follow. Your support will help all Texans, as we work together to do our part at home, at work, and at school. 

License Plate Modified

Your purchase of a license plate will help preserve our exceptional quality of life in Texas by providing education to more schools, individuals, and businesses about how we can all Take Care of Texas. On our website, we have included tips that will make it easy to order. Get yours today!

Holiday Border

Restoration on the Gulf Coast

Family on Beach

According to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused extensive damage to the Gulf Coast’s natural resources, which was devastating to the economies and communities that rely on it. 1,300 miles of U.S. shoreline were damaged, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is important because the Texas Gulf Coast provides energy resources, seafood, and tourism opportunities and the Gulf of Mexico is incredibly diverse, with over 15,000 species of sea life and millions of migratory birds, according to the Council. In fact, many people consider Texas to be one of the best bird watching locations in the country.  

Despite the devastation that this event caused, there is good news too. Recovery efforts from the oil spill have been underway since 2010 and Texas expects to receive $800 million to restore Gulf resources with portions dedicated to the coastal economy as well as natural resources. Some grants have already been distributed and are funding important projects that will support species such as migratory birds, shrimp, blue crab, oysters, and red drum. Other grants have supported recreation opportunities along the Gulf Coast. One exciting project will build artificial reefs offshore, providing increased habitat and recreational fishing opportunities.   

To stay up to date on Texas’ Gulf Coast restoration, visit the RESTORE The Texas Coast website.  

Holiday Border

Kids Art Contest

Calling all K-5 students: Are you ready? Only one month until the How Do You Take Care of Texas? Elementary School Art Contest begins! 

childrens art

Fifteen students will win a Samsung tablet and one grand prize winner will receive a Samsung laptop! Subscribe to receive updates or visit our website to download an entry form in English or Spanish. The contest begins January 4, 2016; entries must be postmarked on or before March 2, 2016. 

How Lisa Takes Care of Texas

Congratulations to Lisa from Bryan, Texas. She's the winner of our Texas Recycles Day Contest! Her prize? A $50 H-E-B gift card.

It takes two minutes for hot water to reach Lisa's bathroom faucet. While waiting for her water to heat up, she places a watering can under the faucet and collects two gallons of water.

Watering Can

Instead of wasting those two gallons, she uses them to water her plants and yard. Thanks for doing your part to Take Care of Texas, Lisa!  

To see more stories like this, or submit your own, visit our website. We'd love to hear how you Take Care of Texas!

Be on the lookout for more contest announcements in our newsletter and on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages!

Activities for Kids

Did you know we have lots of games and activities to help keep kids learning over the holidays?

Kids Activity Book

Check out our website where we have lots of FREE publications to help your kids learn how to Take Care of Texas, including coloring books, activity posters, and stickers. Download the PDFs and print them at home, or order yours today and be ready for the holidays. Also, check out the kids section of our website where we have interactive games, fun facts, and tips. Many of our publications are also in Spanish and we have a Spanish website

State of the Bay Symposium

TCEQ Logo Seminars, Conferences, Workshops

Even if you are miles from the Gulf, you are more connected than you may think.  At the State of the Bay Symposium, you'll learn from experts about the challenges and successes in protecting Galveston Bay.  Professional Engineers and Geologists also have the opportunity to receive continuing education hours at the event.

Event Details

Date: Jan. 13 & 14, 2016

Location: Galveston, TX

Price: Register early and receive a discount! $179 (ends Dec. 11). Students also receive a discount.


For more details, visit the TCEQ website.

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