6 tips to stay eco-friendly during the holidays
You can still have a great holiday season without being wasteful. Here's some tips to remain environmentally-friendly:
- Cut back on your greeting card list. The amount of cards sold during the holiday season would fill a football field ten stories high, so consider going paperless or reducing your paper. Send greetings via e-mail, or reuse the old holiday cards you received last year by cutting them down into post cards.
- Swap out your regular holiday lights for LED lights. They look the same, but they’re 90 percent more efficient. While they retail for between $10 and $15, they can pay for themselves in as little as one season, and they produce almost no heat which eliminates any fire concerns.
- If you’re a wrapping paper fan, find recycled or recyclable versions of your favorites. Most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable and ends up contributing to the additional 5 million tons of waste generated during the holiday season. Get creative with your wrapping—use posters, children’s artwork or a scarf—which makes the wrapping functional and much more personalized.
- One of our experts suggests shredding old magazines or paperwork and using it as packing material to reduce spending on things you can easily provide on your own.
- Decide how you're decking the halls. There are advantages and disadvantages for using both real and artificial trees and wreaths. Artificial trees and wreaths are plastic, made of petroleum and metal-based products and eventually will end up in a landfill. The pro is that they can be used for years if properly maintained. Real trees and wreaths are only used once, but they are grown for that purpose. They are vastly more biodegradable than their artificial counterparts, making them easy to recycle into mulch or some other useful product.
- Give the gift of service: Instead of purchasing yet another consumable product for those on your shopping list, give a gift of service. A gift certificate for a massage, tickets to a concert or sporting event, or payment in advance for a pet sitter or child care provider are some ideas. Also, consider giving homemade, organic or recyclable gifts. If you do give an item that uses batteries, be sure to include rechargeable batteries.
At the end of the season, pack each room's decorations in separate boxes. This way, when the time comes to decorate next year, you're already organized and can easily decorate each room as you have time. This keeps you from wasting time.
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