Tips on How to Have an Eco-Friendly Holiday
’Tis the season to be jolly… and oftentimes also to produce a lot of ecological waste in the process. The excess food and packaging; the chopping down of live trees; the over-usage of electrical energy; and the use of non-recycled gift paper can add up to a whole lot of waste. It’s no news that the environment pays a high price for our way of life; this is especially true around the holidays. I’ll spare the rant. But if you’re as environmentally-concerned as I am, the following ideas can help you have an eco-friendly (not to mention budget-friendly) holiday season:
1. Go Light on Lights - Switching to low-energy LED (Light-Emitting Diodes) Christmas lights will help you save both money and energy. One study by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that if everyone replaced their light strings with LED lights, we would save enough energy to power 200,000 homes a year!
2. Choosing the Best Tree – Every year a countless number of trees end up in landfills after Christmas is over. Of course, the most environmentally-friendly option is to use a fake tree (since you can use it again and again). If however, you’re stuck on a chopped tree, don’t decorate it with anything toxic (like ‘fake snow’), and when you’re done with it, send it to the mulcher/chipper/recycler. Better yet, get a live tree in a pot, and plant it outside after the holidays. Alternatively, pick up a Norfolk Island Pine, Monstera, Philodendron, Pothos, or Dracaena houseplant, which you can decorate for the holiday, then ‘un-decorate’ and enjoy all year round.
3. Wrapping Up Recycling – There are few things I hate more than the piles of torn wrapping paper heaped under the tree after present-opening time. These papers were barely used and are now ready for the trash. There are lots of options to reduce wrapping paper waste: Buy recycled gift paper and recycle it; make your own gift wrap from butcher paper, reused brown paper bags, newspaper, or the funny pages, and recycle or compost it afterwards; buy a bundle of pretty gift bags or baskets from your local dollar store, and reuse them each year; pick up inexpensive rolls of leftover wrapping paper from Goodwill or the Salvation Army; or save used wrapping paper from Christmas past and reuse it the following year.
Happy (green) holidays!