Have Yourself A Green Christmas
Each year I’m sad to see the holidays pass by. Really Halloween to Christmas is by far my favorite time of the year, but after each Christmas my heart sinks looking at the garbage bins outside of my apartment. How scary is this the EPA estimates that garbage increases in the US 25% between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That got me thinking about going green this year.
Go battery free: Bug has tons of toys given by well-meaning family members that sing, dance, moo, and just make as much noise as possible. It is annoying. I have had fantasy’s about lining them up and steam rolling them. This year I have made it quit clear that as much as we appreciate the we are going battery free. If the idea of not listening to a screaming pile of plastic is enough to consider avoiding the battery powered toys chew on this the EPA has estimated that 40% of batteries are sold during the holidays. There are tons of options that has much less impact on our environment.
Recycle, recycle, recycle: Getting new electronics to replace your old computer/TV/cell? Recycle. Here is a handy list of places you may find to recycle electronics. Wrapping paper and shipping supplies can also be recycled or reused. Oh, and that real Christmas tree it can be recycled too. They can be used for composting and many cities will gladly recycle trees for you. Check with your town for local drop off sites.
Alternatives to wrapping paper: There are tons of things that can be used in place of wrapping paper if you get creative. Try using scraps of fabric to wrap gifts. Not only will they look unique it can be reused. Or try using alternative paper like the comic section of the newspaper, calendars, old maps, or old magazines.
Switch up your lights: LED lights are 90% more efficient than incandescent lighting. On top of that they last longer, don’t get as hot so it is less of a fire risk, but most importantly when one goes out they don’t all out. When it was a kid it was great fun trying to guess which one was burnt out, but as an adult not so much.
Rethink gift giving: Try sustainable gifts instead of store purchased ones. Some possible ideas: A family receipt book, baked goods, tickets to a sporting event, the movies, or a concert, membership to the zoo or local museum, hand-made goods, anything second-hand. Many times gifts like these will be less expensive than most store-bought gifts, will be used more frequently, and have much less impact on the environment. The best part is that gifts like memberships to places or tickets not only are fun for the recipient, but they support your local community.
When buying: Try to buy locally made products that reduce the amount of distance that they have to get to you. If ordering online try to consolidate all of the gifts into as few as shipments as possible. If you do decide to brave the malls do it in as few as trips as possible and take your own bags. And recycle those catalogs! 14 million trees are cut down each year so that we can look at them once and toss them out.
Christmas cards: I know people love them, but I have never really liked them. I just threw them out. Now imagine the 2.6 billion cards that are sold each year in the US alone in the landfill. Maybe it is time to e-mail them instead.
Have you done anything to try to go green for the holidays? I’m have a bit of a hard time, but decided to try to do a bit more each year.