How to be Eco-Friendly This Holiday Season
The holiday season is magical and exciting, but can also be very wasteful when it comes to energy and materials. The time of year between Thanksgiving and New Years does a number on the environment, increasing household waste by almost 25%. Here are some ways you can be eco-friendly and save energy over the holidays:
1. This year try using LED lights for holiday decoration. In addition to using up 95% less energy than regular lights, they also last 10 times longer.(1)
2. Consider sending e-cards instead of holiday letters. This would cut down on the 2.65 billion holiday cards that are sold each year in the US.(1)
3. Switch to recyclable wrapping paper. 8,000 tons of wrapping paper are used each year during the holiday season, and most of it is not recyclable, so it ends up in landfills. Every ton of wrapping paper that is recycled instead of thrown away saves 185 gallons of gasoline. (1)
4. Keep a set of reusable bags in your car to use when you go shopping for gifts, so you don't have to use the plastic ones they give you at most stores.
5. Recycle your Christmas tree. 10 million Christmas trees go the landfill each year despite the fact that they are recyclable.(2) There are a lot of programs all over the country that will take your tree and turn it into mulch or wood chips.
6. Give gifts that encourage green living. Some ideas include reusable water bottles, a compost bin, books on green living, a membership to an organic farm, etc. Also try to make sure that the gifts themselves are recyclable, energy-efficient, and durable.
7. Try to minimize the amount of time you have your lights on. Only turn on the lights of your Christmas tree when you're in the room, and make sure to turn them off when you go to sleep. Also consider buying a timer for your outside lights, so they turn of automatically at some point in the night.
8. Buy organic and local food for your holiday dinner. Check out this blog post to learn about all the environmental and general health benefits of buying food locally. And food that is organic and locally sourced will actually taste better too!
Hopefully you can use some of these tips over break to have a green holiday season!