The holidays are a joyful time, but if you are not considering our resources, they can also be a wasteful time. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate 25 percent more trash and waste 33 percent more food during the holidays. Energy consumption commonly increases at this time of the year, too.
You don’t have to be a Scrooge to enjoy an environmentally sound season, though. Simply incorporate some sustainable practices into your celebrations.
- Use Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights instead of incandescent lights. LEDs consume up to 90 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts. In addition, LEDs have longer lifespans and emit less heat than incandescent lights.
- Power down your light displays overnight and during daylight hours.
- Set your holiday lights on a timer.
- If you are purchasing electronic gifts, choose Energy Star models.
- Consolidate your shopping trips and errands as much as possible.
- Ensure that your tires are properly inflated and remove the ‘junk from your trunk’ for optimal gas mileage.
- Use public transportation when possible.
- Send holiday cards and party invitations electronically.
- Carry your own reusable bags with you on shopping trips.
- Plan your holiday meal carefully to reduce food waste.
- Incorporate locally grown and raised foods into your holiday meals.
- Eliminate the use of disposable dinnerware for parties and meals, and choose reusable materials. If you must use disposable dinnerware, choose bio-based or recyclable options.
- Provide recycling containers at your holiday parties.
- Store and reuse holiday decorations year after year.
- Use natural materials in your decorations.
- Give environmentally sound gifts.
- Give ‘experience’ gifts such as tickets for an event or lessons for a hobby.
- Donate unwanted gifts to charity.
- Choose recyclable and recycled content wrapping paper.
- Reuse papers such as newspapers and magazines or even materials such as maps, comic strips and artwork to create unique and beautiful gift wrap.
- Buy rechargeable batteries for your electronics.
- When shipping holiday gifts, minimize your use of packaging materials.
- When receiving holiday gifts in the mail, reuse packaging materials, and visit your local post office or shipping store for information on packaging reuse and recycling programs.
- Recycle your natural Christmas tree by grinding it into mulch, or research Christmas tree recycling programs in your community.
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No federal endorsement intended.