Seven ideas to make your holidays green(er)

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day household waste in the United States increases by 25%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Do your part to “green up” your holiday season:

  1. While shopping, take along some reusable bags. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember to do this for not only groceries, but for toys and gifts, too.
  2. Switch from standard holiday lights to longer-lasting, lower-energy-use LED lights. Visit www.earth911.com to find out how to recycle your old lights.
  3. Limit “stuff” you buy. Look at local events in your city and order tickets for an “experience” gift. Make or bake your gifts, such as infused vodka or baked goods. Consider certificates redeemable for activities that draw on your talents, time or energy, such as cooking a meal, cleaning the car, organizing the garage or babysitting. Busy moms and dads, as well as older relatives who have more than enough “stuff,” will be especially appreciative.
  4. Wrap green. Avoid foil or metallic wrapping papers, and look for eco-friendly gift wrap made from recycled paper. When unwrapping large gifts, save the paper for reuse; it can be cut down for smaller presents. (My mother’s notorious for this one.) Or, at least recycle the paper when you’re finished with it, instead of throwing it in the dump.
  5. Ribbons and bows are ultimately destined for the garbage bin. So give them as many lives as you can before they are trash-bound. Fabric ribbon, in particular, can be reused many times.
  6. When the festivities are over, make sure all glass, plastic and aluminum containers from your holiday cheer go into the recycling bin. Better yet, use non-disposable dinnerware; break out the china!
  7. Hold off on running the dishwasher until it’s full. Small loads waste detergent, water and energy.

Hopefully these ideas will help make your holiday season enjoyable and help the environment at the same time! Let me know if you have more ideas in the comments section.