Green ideas for the holidays
While lights are an obvious place to start greening your holiday season, here are some more tips that are good for you and the planet:
If you're buying consumer electronics or a television,
look for the Energy Star symbol on the package, which identifies
products that use less power while in standby. Better yet, consider
buying gifts that don't require electricity or batteries (non-rechargeable
batteries are toxic in landfills and rechargeable batteries require
When shopping for stocking stuffers, consider giving
compact fluorescent light bulbs, known as CFL bulbs, or a power
bar with a timer. For kids, look for a funky LED nightlight.
Try to cut down on impulse buys -- ask yourself,
will Auntie Bertha really love that funky handbag as much as I do?
Make a list before you set out and stick to it. You'll save money,
time and gas, and you'll cut down on the number of trips to the
Stuck for ideas? Buy gift cards or certificates or tickets to an event. Or, for the gift that really keeps on giving,
donate to a favourite charity on someone's behalf, such as
Unicef's Gifts of Magic.
While shiny new tinsel and garlands add a certain
amount of bling to your home, they're not so pretty when they end
up in landfill. Try decking the halls with natural tree trimmings
that can go into the compost pile come January. They cost less in
the long run and add a traditional, old world Christmas feel to
Resist the urge to follow the latest tree decorating
fads and stick to your family's tried and true baubles. You'll feel
good about the memories they represent, the money you save and the
garbage you don't produce.
While many of us get excited about receiving an envelope in the mail that isn't a bill, save money and trees by sending
free e-cards (visit Hallmark or
Evite) instead of paper greeting cards.
Ditch the wrapping paper -- it's one of the biggest
sources of money and paper waste each Christmas. Use reusable cloth
or paper bags, recycled brown paper or craft your own personalized
wrapping paper from old maps or glossy magazine pages.
If you're having a party or large family gathering,
avoid using disposable plates and cups. They're costly to you and
the environment. (consider how long they get used compared to how
long they sit in a landfill). Use ceramic or china plates instead.
If you don't have enough, borrow some from friends or rent them
(which may cost a bit more money, but there's no washing dishes!).