The holiday season is upon us and retailers everywhere have started their campaigns to get us all into their stores to buy the latest and greatest toys, gadgets, clothes, you name it, they’re trying to convince you to buy it.  This year we are challenging you to think about reducing and reusing when it comes to the holidays.  There are so many things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment and we’re here to help you recognize those opportunities.  Check out our list of Ways to Be a Little Greener this Holiday Season:

  • DONATE! – Before your kids get an entire houseful of new toys, have them go through their old ones and donate them to a local shelter, charity, or hospital.  There are so many kids out there that would love to have a ‘new’ gently used toy
  • REUSE! –
    • Don’t recycle that empty tub of butter just yet! Use empty food containers this holiday season to send leftovers home with friends and family.  They can reuse them too until they’re ready to recycle them.
    • Have old newspapers, magazines, etc. lying around the house?  Use them for wrapping paper this year!  The trees and the landfills will thank you for it!
  • BE REAL – At your holiday dinner this year use real plates and silverware and help to reduce the massive volumes of disposable plates and utensils that end up in our landfills.  If ‘real’ isn’t a viable option for you, consider the recyclable and/or biodegradable options that are available these days.
  • AVOID PLASTIC BAGS – When you shop take reusable bags with you, our landfills are already full of plastic shopping bags that will take hundreds of years to decompose.
  • GO PAPERLESS –
    • Sending out holiday cards again this year?  Why not consider e-cards and help to preserve our precious environment?
    • Hosting a holiday party?  Consider e-vites instead of the traditional paper invitation.  There will also be one or two people on your list who will require the hard copy of the invitation, but for the most part everyone has email these days, save some trees and send your invitations electronically.
    • If you cannot avoid sending paper communications this year, make sure to use paper products made from recycled products.
  • CHOOSE LED – LED lights may cost you a little bit more money up front but it will pay off in the long run.  Not only do they last longer but they also use much less energy than traditional lighting options
  • CONSIDER THE SOURCE –
    • When shopping this year keep in mind the store you’re buying from and the origin of the product you’re purchasing.
    • If we want the rest of the world to embrace the culture of ‘being green’ we have to create a demand for it.  Do you want more products on the shelves made from recycled content?  Then you need to buy more products that are made as such and thus increase the demand.
    • Do you want companies to stop using harmful chemicals in their products?  Do not buy any products that contain chemicals or substances harmful to the planet and to people.
    • Would you like to see more stores that are committed to preserving our natural resources?  Reward those that do by purchasing from them and not from others who are not working towards sustainability.
  • GIFTS –
    • There are an unlimited number of ways you can gift this year without purchasing items that consumed an untold number of natural resources in production, or those products that will eventually end up in the landfill after they have outlived their usefulness.
    • Cook something for friends and family this year as a gift.
    • Casually encourage your gift recipient to be a little greener in their everyday lives by giving the gift of something reusable, such as a refillable water bottle.
    • Donate in their name in place of handing them something tangible that they may not even want.  Heifer International is a great organization dedicated to helping those less fortunate around the world, save an animal with the World Wildlife Fund, other options include: the Red Cross, veterans’ groups, the homeless, churches, shelters, the list goes on and on.
    • Choose gifts that are energy efficient.  Use rechargeable batteries or buy Energy Star rated products.
  • CHRISTMAS TREES –
    • The most eco-friendly option is to purchase a tree that can be planted in the spring.
    • The next best choice would be a cut live tree that can be shredded and turned into mulch once the holidays are over.
    • Artificial trees may seem like a good idea, given that they can be reused time and time again, but the truth is, it takes a lot of natural resources to produce an artificial tree, and in most cases they are not recyclable once they’ve outlived their usefulness.

These are just a few of the many possibilities for making your holidays a little bit ‘greener’ this year.  Please send us your ideas for how you planning on ‘greening’ your holidays this season.

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