‘Tis the season for enormous holiday light displays, copious amounts of gift-wrapping and enough food leftovers to keep us fed for weeks! Celebrating the holidays with family traditions is especially important this time of year but can also create a plethora of unnecessary waste. With a little planning, you can experience the joy of giving and receiving but in a way that benefits our environment. Here are a few ideas to enjoy a clean and green holiday:
Oh, (Real) Christmas Tree!
Most find it easy to reuse an artificial tree each year, but choosing to purchase a real tree is the more sustainable route. And, let’s be honest: it SMELLS like Christmas! Plastic trees use far more resources in the production of the tree because of the PVC and other types of plastic and in the packaging and shipping of the final product. Artificial trees will last forever, yet most are discarded within six years because repetitive use causes them to become less attractive. If just 10 percent of households planning on purchasing an artificial tree this year purchased a natural one instead, 44 million pounds of non-biodegradable materials could be diverted from landfills (Source: ADEQ).
Rather than eventually sending plastic trees to the landfills, purchase a real tree. Not only are they renewable each year, they also contribute to better air quality during the growing season and are also biodegradable and upcyclable! Here is a list of Christmas tree dropoff locations provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission where your real tree can become natural fish habitat after the holidays.
Deck the Halls with LED!
LEDs are super-efficient lights that use much less energy than old-fashioned, incandescent bulbs. Luckily for you, these sparkly and bright lights are not only trending in holiday decorations, they are quickly replacing traditional lights. Although the initial cost of LED lights are considerably higher than incandescent, the real savings is long-term on the amount of energy the bulbs will ultimately use. Not only will LEDs bring down the cost of your electricity bill over time, but they are also more durable, lasting approximately 10-25 times longer than incandescent. (Sources: Huffington Post and WeCheckEnergy.com)
Don’t Scrap Your Gift Wrap
Don’t get on Santa’s naughty list this year; instead, remember to be thoughtful about your gift wrap! Most gift wraps include metallic properties, which cannot be recycled. The best method to avoid the issue of metallic gift wrap is to simply create your own! Newspaper, magazines or brown craft paper with your own artwork add a personal touch to your gifts while also being environmentally friendly. And, to cut down on additional paper waste, try sending e-cards or cards made from recycled paper. Sending e-cards will also save you time and money.
Give our environment a gift this year and use these simple tips to cut down on your holiday waste. Making your holiday clean and green can be easy; now, it’s up to you!