Give a gift but skip the wrapping

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The Waste Free Holidays program is back this year and looking for local businesses and organizations to participate. This annual program encourages holiday shoppers to “give experiences instead of stuff,” helping to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill.

 Waste Free Holidays is a regional partnership among Thurston, King and Kitsap counties, Tacoma and Seattle, and organizations/businesses that provide discounts of 15 percent to 50 percent on experiences or service gifts such as gift certificates for restaurants, theater performances, memberships, massages, rentals, spa and salon treatments, lessons, car washing and carpet cleaning.

Last year was Thurston County’s first year participating in this program, and it had nearly 60 participating businesses and organizations.  Many businesses sold large numbers of their Waste Free Holidays offers and were extremely excited about the attention this program brought during the holidays. It’s a great opportunity for local businesses and organizations to get some free advertising and help protect the environment.

Local partners (businesses) will sell an experience or service such as an event ticket, a membership or a gift certificate with a minimum 15 percent discount from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31.

The regional government partners will promote the program in a number of ways and direct consumers to the Waste Free Holidays Web site. From the site, visitors will select their region to find a list of each participating business, their discounted offer and the business Web site. Regional advertising methods will include TV commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, radio spots, newsletters, bus ads and direct mailings.

To enroll your business online, click the Thurston County link at www.wastefreeholidays.com.

And for you shoppers, did you know that Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than during any other comparable period in the year? The added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons adds up to 1 million extra tons per week to our nation’s waste stream.

So if you’re getting ready to make out your gift list, consider doing something a little different this year.

 Consider giving the gift of experience.  A Spa Gift Certificate

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Washington Spa Gift Certificates