How to take care of the environment during this Holiday Season
December 21, 2020
The Holiday Season doesn’t have to be harmful for the environment. With a little effort and imagination, you can reduce the environmental impact of this season. Here are some ideas to celebrate the holidays while caring for the planet.
Not all gifts have to be store-bought. You can give more while spending less by giving gifts that are personal and unique. While young children may favor the bright, shiny store-bought items, most adults appreciate anything that shows thoughtfulness. It’s the thought that counts, and the personal touch makes any gift more meaningful and memorable. With a little planning, you can give more while spending less. For example, you can give services instead of goods, experiences to enjoy and remember or homemade desserts.
If you are overwhelmed by a gift list that’s too long you can put the names of all your family members on separate slips of paper and put the slips in a hat, take turns picking one name per adult and the name you pick is your secret gift recipient. That way your gift list has been shortened to one.
Look for locally made gifts
Many gifts in today’s marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Local products and artisan shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation. And gifts made locally are more significant because they often have a story that goes with the gift.
Choose gifts made from recycled sources and battery-free
Many local businesses have developed great products using recycled materials. Supporting these businesses helps reduce the waste stream while promoting the concept of making best use of available materials. According to the EPA, about 40% of all battery sales occur during the Holiday Season. Discarded batteries are a danger to the environment. Even rechargeable batteries find their way into the waste eventually. Find local shops that sell innovative products made from recycled materials that don’t use batteries.
Lower the impact of holiday lighting
In the past, the house with the most decorative holiday lights used to be considered the best, but times have changed. The cost of electricity goes way beyond the utility bills and electricity drains natural resources. Use LED lights for the house and Christmas tree lighting, LED holiday lights use up to 95% less energy than larger, traditional holiday bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors. Over a 30 day period, lighting 500 traditional holiday lights will cost you about $18.00 while the same number of LED lights costs only $0.19. Also, turn off tree lights and outdoor house decorative lighting at bedtime. It’s a waste of energy to leave the holiday lights on at night after everyone’s gone to sleep.
Find alternatives to wrapping paper
According to The Recycler’s Handbook, half of the paper that is consumed each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products. In the US, the annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags totals over 4 million tons. In Canada, the annual waste from gift wrap and shopping bags equals about 595,000 tons. If everyone wrapped just three gifts in reused paper or fabric gift bags, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.
Reuse gift wrap when possible and choose alternatives to commercial gift wrap. There are many options which are cost-free and attractive solutions. Large wrapped presents usually have large enough flat sections to be reused for wrapping small gifts. If you open large gift packages with care, the paper can be reused for other gifts. Gift bags can be made using pieces of fabric of old clothes, or wrapping can be made using comic strips from the paper, old calendars, maps, or posters.
Make this year your most eco-friendly Holidays yet and opt for eco-friendly decorations, trees, and gifts. Small changes can make all the difference in reducing your environmental footprint during this season.