How to Green Your Winter Holiday
‘Tis the season for holiday cheer and festive traditions - a time to indulge on the plate of sugar cookies left out in the office kitchen, find the perfect gift for a fantastically eccentric relative, travel through crazy weather to be with loved ones and take a break from a hectic schedule to relax and reflect. Here at WegoWise, we think all of the above is great (especially anything baked goods-related) and having it be eco-friendly is even better!
Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started on making this a "green" holiday season.
A great way to get started on this year's gifts is to think locally, not globally. Many cities and towns have links to lists of local businesses on their websites that can range from artisan wares to locally produced canned goods. Other sites like Etsy provide an extensive database of awesome locally made goods that make nice gifts.
Sustainability has also become a popular trend, and as a result there are numerous business that promote products made from recycled materials (or better yet, completely upcycled). This might also be an opportunity to perfect that arts and crafts project you've been working on and give it as a gift!
Feeling generous this season? Look into gifts that help people save energy and promote conservation. Perhaps a smart thermostat? Or a sweet composting bin?
A final note - gifts don't have to be objects. Experiences move away from physical gifts, reducing material consumption and can be in the form of dinner, a play or a weekend getaway!
Did you know that Americans throw away about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve than at any other time during the year? Which means that if every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields! Newspaper looks great as a wrapping material and everyone has a couple of holiday bags kicking around from past years. This year, do the easy thing and make a difference.
One of the best parts about the holiday season is admiring the various holiday decorations. While they can be beautiful, intricate works of art, they can also be damaging to the environment. LEDs provide a great alternatives to the classic holiday lights. They use less energy, last longer and give off a great, bright light. Think about using timers or having a set period of time to have the lights on to further limit the amount of time they're pulling electricity. It's also possible to recycle your lights; if you don't want to use them next year, drop them off at a local business that will take them and recycle them for you!
If you are a big fan of candles during the holidays, consider using soy candles instead of traditional paraffin wax candles. Soy candles don't release harmful aromatic hydrocarbons and produce less soot than paraffin candles.
Start saving decorations from year to year, like ornaments and wall hangings. Not only does this cut down on waste, it's also great to have a collection to work with next season.
For people that enjoy hosting, this is the time of year to shine. If this is you, think about looking into local options for your holiday fare such as butcher shops, produce sellers or maybe dairy produces. You can also use either recyclable disposable dishware or use your own and enlist all your friends to help clean. Set up an easy recycling station (and maybe even a compost station!) to reduce the overall party waste and clean up. If you're attending a party, think about about taking public transportation or carpooling with friends.
Cheers to a wonderfully "green" holiday this year!