The holidays can be stressful. Save time by opting for simpler approach to the season – you’ll be acting more sustainably at the same time. Here are some easy ways to have a greener holiday season:
1. Switch to LED lights. If you haven’t made the change, ‘tis the season! LEDs are 90% more efficient, last longer, and are less likely to break after a year of being tangled up in the garage.
2. Opt for Frustration-Free Packaging. If you buy gifts on-line, look for companies that offer Frustration-Free Packaging. The service uses recyclable packaging for shipping, without excess materials.
3. Buy local foods and make less. Buying local means you’re supporting local farmers and that your produce, meat, and other items didn’t have to travel across the country to get to the store shelf.
4. Give experiences, not gifts. With experiences as gifts, there’s no wrapping paper, ribbon, or packaging to get thrown away. Your teenage niece may love a spa day, while your favorite aunt and uncle will be thrilled to go wine tasting at local wineries.
5. Email holiday cards and annual letters. Sure, the idea of emailing season’s greetings may make Emily Post shudder. But if you really want to reduce waste, it’s the way to go this holiday season. Better yet, pick up the phone and call your friends and family over the holidays.
6. To decorate, bring the outdoors in and choose compostable materials. String popcorn and cranberries to decorate your tree and literally deck the halls with boughs of holly. Mulch or compost fresh garlands and wreaths and recycle your tree when the holidays are over!
7. Use real plates, not paper or plastic. Pull out the nice dishes and silver to set a beautiful table that everyone can enjoy. While no one likes to spend time cleaning up, your holiday meals will be greener and feel more festive!
8. Give battery-free gifts and/or green toys. Look for toys made from recycled materials, in ways that are energy efficient, and that don’t require batteries. A return to more classic toys won’t have as many bells and whistles – but then your holidays will be quieter and kinder to the earth!
9. Shop online. Do your shopping online and save both gas and time from driving to and from a variety of stores. But if you do have to venture to the mall, be sure to take your reusable shopping bags with you!
10. Get creative wrapping gifts. Try butcher paper tied with twine, reuse the comics section from the newspaper, or scraps of fabric to wrap gifts. If you do buy wrapping paper, look for 100% recycled paper (which you can also recycle, unlike other wrapping paper). Instead of tossing wrapping paper, save it to reuse later.