Christmas and the holiday season are typically characterized by a couple of weeks of rushing, wrapping and running around. We have less money in our wallets than any other time of year but we also consume more…of everything. From paper, to energy, to food, we use significantly more of just about everything between Thanksgiving and New Years. That can take a toll on our planet over time, so here are 5 easy ways to conserve a little bit of that energy this holiday season.
1. Take a page from Grandma: Save bows, ribbons and even paper from presents this year. According to The Recycler’s Handbook, half of the paper used annually in America is for wrapping or decorating gifts…and most of it ends up in a landfill. Additionally, if every family reused 2 feet of ribbon each year, there would be enough left over to tie a ribbon around the planet: that’s 38,000 miles of holiday bows!!!
2. Buy local: Not only will this help boost your local economy, but it will also reduce the harmful effects of international shipping. Most international goods are shipped by boat, emitting up to 30% of the world’s carbon. Additionally, products shipped overseas typically require more packaging than products produced locally.
3. Be a creative wrapper: The Sunday comics section makes great wrapping paper, as does old greeting cards (just make sure they aren’t from the giftee) and old scraps of construction paper. This is an easy way to do your own recycling; you can even recycle twice if you throw the “gift” paper into the recycling.
4. Send an e-card: The sentiment is the same, you’re just not using any paper. Thus, cutting down on waste both through the production process and through the final product. Besides, no one knows what to do with cards after the season is over anyway; cards look better in your e-mail archives than in the trash or stuck in a drawer.
5. Switch to LED Christmas Lights: They not only conserve energy by consuming less, they will reduce your energy bill too. Who can’t use a little extra savings during the spend-crazy holiday season? Do something good for the planet and your wallet.
If you’re the over-achieving type, there are plenty more environment-preserving ways to green your Christmas. These are just a few easy ways to start. Remember, every little bit helps and if you get into the habit of changing a bit at a time, it will add up in the long run. Happy Holidays!