It’s the holidays again, time for the great American past time consumption. The EPA estimates that 25 million tons of holiday trash is created each year. This year see if you can cut down on one thing to help the planet as you gleefully celebrate the season. If everyone did just one thing to make the planet a little greener it would make a big impact.
- Use recycled wrapping paper or none at all. Recycle or reuse all of your holiday gift-wrap that you receive. See what you have around your house that could use any extra wallpaper pieces, newspaper, old maps, posters, tea towels or cloth napkins that you will never use, or last year’s calendar? Consider email gift certificates rather than paper ones too.
- Buys gifts that use solar power rather than batteries. If you must buy batteries for a gift make them rechargeable ones.
- Use a potted/re-plantable tree. If you use a live cut Christmas tree find a way to recycle it after the holidays.
- Email your holiday cards rather than sending paper ones. Is cheaper and saves a lot of trees and money. If you must send paper than use ones that use recycled paper.
- My children also like to make art projects out of all the boxes and colorful paper received from others. We have recycled art contests that are lots of fun.
- Home made is best. Consider giving consumable home made gifts with no packaging waste or look for gifts sold with little or no packaging. My family loves to make homemade dough ornaments, breads, cookies, and baking mixes for gifts. Making your own ornaments out of cards received from the year before is also a fun craft idea. You can decoupage a really nice design to keep or gift to others.
- Consider giving the gift of time with a friend/family member instead of a tangible gift. Decide to have lunch together or do something fun together instead of exchanging gifts. Several of my friends and family members have decided to go no gifts with each other and just save the time and money and enjoy each other’s company. We haven’t looked back and haven’t missed the gifts either if the truth were told.
- Consider making a charitable donation in someone’s honor. There are so many worthy causes out there from which to choose.
- When purchasing new try to purchase from sustainable companies with green practices, green products, and eco-friendly packaging. Consider purchasing carbon offsets for your purchases. A good place to find a variety of eco-friendly companies is Green America.
- Consider turning off or unplug holiday lights during the day. Use LED lights when possible.
Kelly Neylan is a registered yoga teacher, reiki master, eco-entrepreneur/advocate, and author of the upcoming book Little Bodies Big Souls: How Stories from Yoga and Children will Change your Life. Submissions are being accepted at Little Bodies Big Souls.