Waste Not – Want Not; Go Green This Holiday Season!

Think outside the box this holiday season.  Even if you aren’t a very crafty or creative person, or have never thought much about “Going Green,” the holidays are a great time to start!  Those who are seriously into preserving the environment often cringe at the mere thought of all the waste that goes along with the holidays, such as not-so-eco-friendly gifts, wraps and disposable party wares.

Here are a few simple solutions for a more ecological holiday season. Not only will you help preserve the planet in the long run, but you may even save a few bucks by incorporating some of the items you already own into your holiday décor.

Decorations

  • Think long term by eliminating wasteful paper products and disposable pans and other bakeware. Purchase or use glass cookware and dinnerware. Invest in cloth items such as cloth napkins, placemats and tablecloths, or make them yourself from fabric. Hint: if you purchase blue or red fabric items, they can be used many times throughout the year for other holidays or everyday use.
  • Collect pine cones for free. Bring the outdoors in!
  • Decorate the house with live greenery – the best choices are herbs such as basil and rosemary, which have a wonderful fragrance, and you can use them for cooking all year long.
  • Look in your kids’ rooms for decoration ideas. Whoever said you couldn’t build a menorah or tree decoration out of LEGOs? Make a cool snowflake scene from an Etch-a-Sketch or Lite Brite!

Christmas Trees

  • Get a live tree that you can have in your house and then plant outside after the holidays – in your yard or somewhere else. The planet needs more trees; they remove carbon from the air, help stop erosion, and are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead (please read the warning labels).
  • Grow it yourself: Plant a few seedlings each year, and, in a few years, you will have your own tree that you can bring in for the holiday season.

Save Money

  • Energy: Attach your indoor and outdoor lights to a timer, and program them to be on only for the several hours in the evening when people will see them.
  • Wrapping paper: Wrap presents with recyclable wrapping paper or get creative and make your own. Gifts can be wrapped in newspaper, fabric, or with some of your child’s artwork you’ve been holding onto!  How about putting your gift in a reusable bag?
  • Cards: Make your own holiday cards. Recycle children’s artwork, or use some of last year’s cards to create new ones. Make your own recycled paper: take old newspaper, mix it with water in a blender, then pour the mixture over a screen to dry. Sprinkle some seeds in it and the recipient can plant the card! How clever!
  • Gifts:
    • Make something! Whether it’s a cake, pillow, home accessory, scrapbook, painting, ornament or scarf – be creative.
    • If you must purchase gifts, look for items made from recyclable materials, and/or look for gifts that are locally made.
    • Give gift certificates for goods or services you know the recipient will use.
    • Shop at consignment stores! Not only will you help keep items recycling, but you will also save some money too!
    • Think green – great gift ideas include water bottles, plants, battery chargers, cloth napkins, energy saving light bulbs and reusable shopping bags. Make a “green bag” gift by placing small gift items in a reusable shopping bag. You can even make the bag yourself using recycled material, such as denim from a pair of old jeans.

Some of these ideas are great to use on throughout the year at any other gift-giving time or holiday. The kids can easily pitch in, and may even come up with some new clever ideas to reuse items and to help save you some money – and to cut down on waste.

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Just imagine…

  • If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, that 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.
  • If every American family wrapped just three presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
  • The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper. Consider sending an electronic card.

Source: http://www.use-less-stuff.com and http://www.recycleworks.org. [/sws_green_box]

 

Kara Ferraro
About Kara Ferraro

Kara Ferraro is a publisher, freelance writer and longtime Mamapreneur with two elementary aged children. She is constantly trying to come up with clever ways to juggle her business while not sacrificing time with her family.

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