5 Ways to Stay Green Around The Holidays

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As the winter holidays approach, we all start to get excited about shopping and gifts, cooking and party preparations, family and traditions. While you’re getting all your presents and treats ready, don’t forget to give the Earth a gift by being green this holiday season. These 5 tips will help you use less and recycle more so you can reduce your impact on the environment without reducing the fun.

1. Earth Friendly Cooking

  • Use organic and local ingredients whenever possible. This can be more difficult during the winter months, especially in areas that get very cold, but some local fruits and vegetables should be available.
  • Consider buying the main attraction, the ham or the turkey, from a local organic farm. Not only will this help local business and reduce harm to the environment, it will taste better and provide a wonderful conversation piece for your table.
  • Don’t forget the reusable shopping bags, especially for the dozens of small trips you’ll make for the bits and pieces and things you’ve forgotten.

2. Reduce Garbage and Waste

  • Consider composting all of those potato peelings and carrot shavings. Not only will this reduce the amount of waste that must go to landfills, but it will provide your spring plants with a great nutritional start.
  • Avoid disposable products for your parties. It can be difficult to resist the ease of cleanup, but plastic and foam plates, cups and utensils will sit in a landfill for decades after only a single use.

3. Greener Gifting

  • Shop online instead of driving from store to store. Even including shipping, shopping online consumes less energy and many merchants offer specials during the holidays that make shopping online cheaper.
  • Buy products with less packaging, there’s no reason to encase a small item in a twelve-inch plastic container. Bringing in less means you’ll have less that must be thrown out or recycled later.
  • Regifting is more acceptable than you might imagine, especially when done thoughtfully. Don’t just hand over something without consideration, but don’t be afraid to give the perfect gift away just because someone gifted it to you.

4. Smarter Wrapping and Decorating

  • Recycle and reuse your gift wrap whenever possible. Use wrapping paper that is made from recycled materials, and use gift bags that are easily reused.
  • If you send or receive a lot of gifts from friends and family out of town, or if you order gifts online, be sure to recycle the packaging. Even better, UPS will take back foam and plastic packaging and reuse it.
  • Decorate your home with durable products that can be used year after year. Bring in elements from outside that can be composted after the season. Pine cones and evergreen boughs make beautiful natural additions to holiday décor.

5. Christmas Trees That Are Kind

  • Use energy efficient LED lights instead of traditional ones. They may be a bit more expensive upfront, but they last longer and use less energy. Many home stores will take back your old incandescent strings and offer a credit towards the purchase of LED ones.
  • When you’re finished with your tree, make sure you recycle it. Many areas offer free tree pickup and will bring old trees to be chipped and shredded to make mulch.

Being kind to the environment over the holidays doesn’t have to involve big changes or rearranging traditions. A few simple changes can go a long way towards reducing waste. Recycling, reducing and reusing will help keep our landfills from filling up and you can feel good about being kind to the Earth.


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