5 Helpful Tips for a Green Holiday Season
November 30, 2015
Get a jump start on one of your New Year’s Resolutions by making your holiday season an eco-friendly one! This time of year offers a number of opportunities to go green; from your holiday decorations, to gift giving to your season’s greetings. Here are some ideas to help celebrate the season while showing extra care for the environment.
- Be conscientious of your holiday décor: Rather than using that same strand of lights that you’ve been using for years with missing bulbs, now might be a great time to invest in LED holiday lights. Most retailers stock energy-efficient LED lights, which are up to 90% more efficient than traditional lights. Another energy-efficient alternative to holiday lights is to purchase solar powered holiday lights. Setting a timer for your festive yard displays will help to reduce your electric bill by up to 4 times the amount as if you leave them on 24 hours a day. Set your timer to turn the lights on at dusk and leave them on until you go to bed. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the lights all evening without burning unnecessary energy throughout the night.
- Choose a live tree: While artificial trees stand the test of time year after year, buying a live cut tree is the more sustainable choice. These trees can be recycled after the holidays, whereas the artificial trees eventually end up in a landfill. If you buy a small live tree in a large enough pot, you may be able to reuse the same tree for years without having to re-pot the tree. With the proper accommodations in your yard, you are even able to replant your Christmas tree outdoors once it becomes too large to be your indoor holiday tree.
- Making a list and checking it twice: If the opportunity presents itself, gifting and receiving locally made gifts can have a positive impact on the environment. As the effect of transportation of goods contributes to greenhouse emissions and to global warming, local fairs and shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation. In addition, many small businesses have created great products using recycled materials that can make great gifts for the holidays. Close to 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season, leading to an increase in the amount of batteries ending up in the landfill. You can help preserve the environment by gifting presents that don’t require batteries. Or if you do buy those gifts requiring batteries, include rechargeable batteries with the gift.
- Eco-friendly wrapping: For those long distance gifts, use boxes padded with recycled newspaper or other green alternatives to using Styrofoam. Styrofoam accounts for up to 25% of landfill waste. While wrapping your gifts, ribbon can be used as a good substitute to tape as much as possible. By not using tape, more of the wrapping paper can be reclaimed and it’s easier on the recipient to save the paper for reuse, if they plan to. A good and convenient substitute to using wrapping paper for all your gifts is to use gift bags. Look for gift bags made of recycled materials and they can be used year after year.
- Spreading eco-friendly holiday cheer: Sending electronic holiday cards is a simple way to reduce the amount of holiday waste and is a more cost efficient way to reach family and friends. There are numerous websites that offer a selection of holiday e-cards that can be completely personalized and emailed to family and friends around the world. If you prefer the traditional way of sending cards, look for holiday cards printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink. Homemade cards are also an effective green solution for sending season’s greetings. Making your own cards is easy if you have the material to work with. Keeping a supply of card stock, colorful markers and even a calligraphy set is a great starting point.