Let’s be honest here: for many of us the idea of having environmental holidays, or going completely green, can be placed up there with running a full length marathon. Yep, we’ll probably never run that far. “Yet simple things like changing your lightbulbs, go a long way in reducing your carbon footprint,” said the author and environmental health expert, Alexandra Zissu in an interview with Essence. “Do what you feel comfortable doing and then give yourself a minute to see how you feel about it,” she advised.
The truth is much of the environmental costs associated with the holidays can be reduced by simple awareness and a little pre-planning. So here are 10 easy ways to have environmental holidays this season.
Buy Beeswax Candles
Don’t candles add the ultimate holiday glow to your home? Buying 100% pure beeswax candles are the clean, green alternative to paraffin wax candles as they are free from petrochemicals and pollutants. Beeswax also comes from a renewable source: busy bees.
Read Related: 20 Honeymoon Ideas for the Eco-Couple
Party Without Being “Trashy”
During the holiday months Americans generate a lot of trash while entertaining. Since plastic cutlery can hang around a landfill for thousands of years, opt for biodegradable cutlery and plates or borrow plates and silverware from friends if you’re short.
Buy Battery-Free Gifts
Those old batteries from your child’s talking doll you just tossed into the trash are an environmental hazard. Even rechargeable batteries find their way into the waste stream eventually. According to the EPA, about 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season.
Buy a Potted Tree
If you buy a cute, small tree in a large pot, you may be able to reuse the tree for close to three years without having to plant or re-pot the tree. Replanting the tree outdoors is an option as well, as long as you don’t live in an urban setting.
Opt for Naturally-Powered or Green Toys
Toys that are battery-free have less of an impact on the environment like kites, wooden push carts or gliders. This holiday season, support toymakers who specialize in toys made with recycled and nontoxic materials. Print the Healthy Child Healthy World Pocket Toy Shopping Guide and buy green toys.
Use LED Lights Decorating
When it comes to decorating your house with lights indoors and outdoors opt for LED (Light Emitting Diode). They use up to 95% less energy than larger, traditional holiday bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors.
Save Wrapping Paper, Ribbons and Bows
Did you know you can iron creased wrapping paper? When unwrapping large gifts, save the paper for reuse; it can often be cut down for smaller presents. Ribbons and bows are easy to save and reuse as well.
Recycle Old Electronics
We think it’s terrific that your family bought you a new laptop, camera or cell phone for the holidays. But instead of tossing your old models into a landfill, recycle them at one of these locations: Recycling electronic goods.
Live and Artificial Trees can be Recycled Too
Trees that have been cut are a useful material for composting. Look for tree drop-off locations in your neighborhood. Artificial trees which usually made from twisted metal are accepted at most recycling centers.
Turn Off Holiday Lights at Night
Be sure to have the person who goes to sleep last in your home turn off your tree lights and your decorative lighting outdoors. Leaving them on is simply a waste of energy and will significantly increase your monthly energy bills during an already expensive time of the year.