Mountains of ripped wrapping paper, used batteries, plastic packaging, energy-guzzling light displays ““ the holiday season can be especially hazardous to the environment. Reduce your impact this year by following these eco-friendly tips:
Buy Less. New, store-bought items require large amounts of resources to manufacture and typically come with a plethora of unnecessary packaging. This year, consider giving homemade gifts, such as baked goods and bath products (soaps, salts, etc.), or coupons for free services, such as babysitting, chores, massages or music lessons. If you prefer a store-bought item, look for a locally-made product with minimal packaging, and avoid toys or gadgets that require batteries.
Wrap smart. Don’t be afraid to reuse wrapping paper and gift bags from last year! If you must buy a new roll, steer clear of glossy or foil-based wrapping papers, as these are typically not recyclable. Reuse old paper products (such as newspapers or magazines) or pieces of fabric as wrapping paper, or give gifts in reusable tote bags.
Switch to LED. If you haven’t already done so, make the switch to LED lights, which use up to 95% less energy than those big, traditional bulbs. Make the most of your outdoor display by concentrating on one or two areas of your home rather than decorating every square inch. Don’t forget to turn off the lights at bedtime to conserve energy.
Reuse and Recycle! From plastic packaging to ribbons, bows, even holiday cards ““ try to reuse or recycle as many items as possible! Use ribbons, cards and pretty paper for art projects and homemade gift tags. Turn this year’s tree into potpourri that fills your house with the smell of the holiday season all year long.