While the twelve days of Christmas may bring much joy and happiness, lots more garbage is generated in the process. Some studies suggest that 20% more waste is generated during the holidays than any other time of the year. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
More Americans are concerned about preserving the environment, and a green Christmas, rather than a ‘white’ one, is becoming important for many this holiday season. Many consumers are realizing that some of the extras they’re purchasing are just filling up landfills, so they are looking for ways to make their holidays more earth-friendly.
To help make your 12 days of Christmas more environmentally sensitive, try these 12 “green” tips and hints:
12. Get Energy Saving Lights. When decorating the house and tree, buy strings of LED lights, which look the same as conventional incandescent bulbs, but last longer and use 80 to 90 percent less energy. Plus, they put off much less heat, so you won’t burn your fingers if you touch a bulb.
11. Point Out Both The Trash and Recycling Bins. When your holiday guests come over, make sure you point out where the recycling bins are — and insist that they use them.
10. Make Compost From Your Tree. Instead of tossing your holiday tree out on the curb for the garbage service to take, find out where you can have it chipped up for mulch or compost. Or, you can purchase a living tree that can be planted outside after the holidays are over.
9. Gift CFLs and LEDs. For the man or woman who has everything, try gifting a pack of energy-saving bulbs once their current ones run out.
8. Recycle Office Paper for Packing Filler. Don’t bother with expensive packing material for those fragile gifts. Instead, try using paper from an electric shredder as filler.
7. Send the Very Best with E-Mail . Stay in touch with friends and family with an e-card or personalized e-mail this holiday season. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and appreciate your concern for sparing the trees.
6. Microwaves Save Energy. Cooking a big holiday dinner? Use the microwave or pressure cooker whenever possible. These appliances cut the cooking time and save energy.
5. Recycle Last Year’s Cards for Stickers. Use last years cards to create “to” and “from” stickers. Just cut out pictures of cherubs, angels, trees, religious motifs, snow scenes, etc. from last year’s holiday cards and write the names of the giver and receiver. Then glue or tape to your packages.
4. Gift Recipes, Dress-up Clothes, and Other Recycled Products. Instead of buying something new, think about recycling things that have value to the recipient. Compile a book of favorite recipes for the cook on your list, or create a box of dress-up clothes for young kids.
3. Go Organic. Cooking a Christmas bird or steak? Be sure to choose organic foods for your holiday dinner. Organic, free-range fowl and grass-fed beef is easier on the environment, and your dinner will taste spectacular!
2. Use Paper Bags for Gift Wrap. Wrapping paper doesn’t have to come in rolls! Dressed up brown paper bags, or even newspaper, make fine wrapping paper, and most people are more concerned with what’s inside than what’s on the paper!
1. Break Out the Good Stuff. Entertaining guests? Use metal flatware and real glasses and dishes rather than disposable options. They look better, your guests will appreciate it, and you’re not creating any waste in the landfill.