5 Ways to Have a Greener Holiday Season
The winter holidays are once again upon us and in the middle of stressing over spending money and gaining weight, we should all take a moment to think of how we can celebrate this year without drastically increasing our carbon footprint.
1. Decrease your electricity usage with LED, solar, or energy-saving lights
Decorating our houses with bright lights is for some a highlight of the season but it can wreak havoc on your carbon footprint (and electric bill as well). According to HGTV, “Only 10 percent of the electricity used to light an ordinary light bulb is turned into light. The other 90 percent is wasted as heat.” One way to not only decrease your impact on our environment and save some money as well is to invest in LED or solar lights and decorations. There are also energy-saving bulbs, which use only a quarter of the electricity of standard ones. Each energy-efficient light bulb can save up to $14 and around 88 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
2. Do all your shopping at once
Gas is expensive, even when at it’s lowest prices in years. Not to mention it is a highly nonrenewable resource that we will run out of soon. To conserve this precious resource, and your money, try to do all of your shopping at once. Make a list (check it twice) of all the gifts you need to buy and try to get all your shopping done in as little trips as possible. This will save you gas and a few headaches as well.
3. Gift greener
Give “green” gifts. If you know someone who uses tons of water bottles, considering buying them a reusable bottle and a water filter. According to Brita’s website, one of their filters “can replace 300 bottles of water and save over $600 a year.” Do you know a family who eats lots of fruits and veggies? Consider buying them (or your own family) a CSA membership. Eating local food can be extremely beneficial to your health (they are fresher and better for allergies), the environment (less travel means smaller carbon footprint) and the local economy. Find out more about local agriculture and CSA’s in your neighborhood here. Some other ideas for greener gifts include other reusable products like coffee mugs or handcrafted items made from things that would have otherwise been discarded.
4. Gift wrap greener
Tons of wrapping paper is used every year for a few gifts to look pretty and then thrown away. There are a couple different ways you can save some trees (and maybe even some money). One would be to reuse gift bags. Save them from one year and keep them in good condition to use for gifts the next year. Another fun way to bag gifts is using reusable tote bags. Not only are they super cute and work as gift bags, but the recipient can then use them for long after the holidays in their daily routine to cut down on plastic bag use. As for wrapping, you can use old newspaper to wrap your gifts. It would have been thrown out (or hopefully recycled) after reading anyway so why not reuse it while simultaneously avoiding buying wrapping paper?
5. Buy a real tree
If your holiday celebrations including buying and decorating a Christmas tree, try buying a live one rather than a fake one. Research has been done comparing the two and it has been found that real trees are better for many reasons. For one thing, they are an investment in the local economy. They’re also a greener option in that “a single farmed tree absorbs more than 1 ton of CO2 throughout its lifetime.” With the growing loss of our planet’s trees, planting more is much better for our atmosphere. Each acre of Christmas trees produces enough oxygen for almost twenty people every day. Another great thing about real trees is “treecycling”. After the holidays are over Christmas trees can be recycled to be used to landscaping, creating playgrounds, and fighting erosion. To find a treecycling center near you check out here or here or contact your local Home Depot.
Since the Holiday Season is supposed to be about giving, let’s remember to give back to our planet as well!