If one of the goals with your move was to reduce your carbon footprint or to simply create a more environmentally-friendly living space for your family then you may be feeling a little stress over the upcoming holiday season. Many people don’t realize this time of year can be especially hard on the planet. You can have a fabulous holiday season and have minimal negative impact on the planet. These tips will help.
1. Skip the Greeting Cards – Greeting cards are nice to give and receive, but they are just going to end up in the trash within a few days. Approximately 1.6 billion cards are purchased for this holiday annually. Send a card through email instead. There are plenty of free options, and you don’t even need a stamp.
2. LED Holiday Lights – LED strands of lights are considerably more expensive than incandescent ones, but they also last longer and are less likely to break. They draw very little energy. In fact, you can put as many as 25 strands together to draw power from one outlet. You would probably short out an entire neighborhood, and potentially start a fire if you tried that with non-LED lights.
3. Consider a Real Tree – Artificial trees are typically made from a horrific combination of polyvinyl chloride, petrochemicals, metal, and lead. They can’t be recycled, nor are they fire-resistant, and 80 percent are made in China. Real trees produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, and are biodegradable. There are more than 4,000 recycling programs for Christmas trees in the United States, and for every one tree cut, there are usually three planted.
4. Skip the Gift Wrap – Here is another thing that immediately ends up in the trash. You can always use paper shopping bags and decorate them. You could also buy a 10-pack of reusable shopping bags to use, and all gift receivers will have an extra bag to use when they go grocery shopping. You can find inexpensive canvas ones on Amazon that can be decorated, as well.
5. Buy Eco-friendly Gifts – Be an environmentally-conscious holiday shopper. For example, if you are buying a cutting board for someone choose bamboo instead of wood or plastic. Need a bean bag chair for the kids? Opt for one filled with recycled materials. Shopping for bags of gourmet coffee or herbal tea for coworkers? Buy organic (and Fair Trade, if you can)!
6. Shop Online – Several extra trips to the store pollutes the air more than you need to, unless you are driving an electric car. Buy as much as you can online, preferably from as few sites as possible to cut down on packaging supplies and transport expenses. If you need to go shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, make a day of it. Create your list of everything you need and try to get it done in one day. This goes for grocery shopping for holiday meals, too. Running back to the store because you forgot nutmeg and then going again for potatoes is very wasteful.