Tips for a Green and Socially-Responsible Holiday Season
Festive & easy ideas by my good friend Rachael, my green heroine!!
1. Recycle your tree
Did you know that you actually can purchase a live Christmas tree that can be replanted post-holiday season? If you’re not into living trees then you can still purchase a cut tree, but make sure to take the extra step of recycling it instead of sticking it out with the trash! Go to Earth911.org to research recycling programs near you! (It’s also a great resource for recycling needs of all kinds…)
2. Minimize wrapping and packaging
Think of all the paper, bags, boxes, and ribbons you throw away every year! If nothing else, look for recycled wrapping paper. Think about cutting back on tissue paper and trimmings. Get creative with packaging; try layering a gift bag with several gifts instead of splitting presents into individual parts. And do your environment and your pocketbook a favor and unwrap carefully so you can reuse it next year!
3. Give non-tangibles
The best way to reduce wasted packaging is to reduce what is being packaged! Instead of bulky gifts think about treating a friend or loved one to dinner, a night at the theater, a car wash, or an evening of free babysitting!
4. Buy local
Make Christmas merrier for families and small businesses in your area by patronizing local stores and restaurants. Keep this in mind when you’re stocking the fridge for holiday parties, too! Food and travel are actually bigger waste contributors during the holidays than paper waste. Remember that the average meal travels 1500 miles to get to your plate. Be a good neighbor in more than one way and shop locally!
5. Upgrade to LED lighting
LED lights use only about 10% of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last so much longer. They also emit much less heat which makes them safer to hang on the tree next to your ornaments. And once you hang your LEDs, remember to turn them off when you’re out of the house or in bed for the night.
6. BYOSB (Bring Your Own Shopping Bag!)
Have you "sprung" yet for those inexpensive, reusable grocery shopping bags? If not, this is a perfect time to do it! Keep them in your car and bring them along when you run out to get ingredients for a party snack or head to the mall for your next round of gifts. Some stores even give you a discount for bringing your own bag! (And if you forget, save disposable bags too and reuse them to tote gifts to a party!)
7. Shop online
If you know what you want, cut out the middle man and buy direct from the warehouse. This cuts back on unnecessary packaging and delivery to wholesalers and retail stores as well as your excess time and gas going to the mall.
8. Be fair and buy fair
When you’re shopping, look for fair trade certified products. Fair trade certification means that producers and laborers are ensured a fair price and labor conditions. Remember this: money is power. Every time you give a company money you empower them to continue the practices they have in place. How about empowering companies committed to justice and equity this Christmas season? Check out http://transfairusa.org/
9. Do your research
Co-op America has a “Responsible Shopper” webpage where you can learn about the social and environmental impact of major corporations. Go to http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/rs/ and decide for yourself which companies deserve your support this holiday season.
10. Remember to reduce, reuse, recycle…and relish in green holiday cheer!