Green tips for Christmas

green christmasWhile wishing our readers a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, below are some green ideas you might observe while enjoying these festivites.

  • Choose LEDs (light-emitting diodes) instead of incandescent bulbs to decorate your tree and home.

  • Some holiday gifts fill a practical need and need to be bought new. But many gifts are really gestures of thoughtfulness. You can give more while spending less.

  • look for locally made gifts - many gifts in today's marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Local craft fairs and artisan shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation.

  • choose gifts made from recycled sources - many individuals and small businesses have developed great products using recycled materials. Supporting these businesses helps reduce the waste stream while promoting the concept of making best use of available materials.

  •  give 'battery-free' gifts – A lot of battery sales occur during the holiday season. Discarded batteries are an environmental hazard. Even rechargeable batteries find their way into the waste stream eventually.

  • Family nature hike - a peaceful walk through nature on Christmas day will be remembered and valued more than the score of the football game.

  • Reduce the size of outdoor lighting displays - A smaller presentation of lights can still be attractive, and more appropriate in the 'season of giving'.

  • Use environmentally friendly wrapping paper made using fibers such as hemp. Look for paper using recycled content.

  • Avoid buying glossy foil or metallic wrapping paper - this kind of material is difficult to recycle.

  • Reuse gift wrap where possible - large wrapped presents usually have large enough uncreased sections to be reused for wrapping small gifts.

  • Use tape sparingly, or not at all - if you're going to use ribbon to finish off your wrapping, you may not need to use tape. By not using tape, more of the wrapping paper can be reclaimed, and it's easier for the recipient to save the wrapping for reuse.

  • Reuse or recycle gift packing materials - Bubble wrap can be stored for reuse, or recycled. Foam packing chips are not as easily recycled;Cardboard boxes should be opened flat and set out for recycling; storing and reusing these boxes is even better as no additional energy is used in remanufacturing.

  • Save any special gift wrap, ribbons and bows - When unwrapping large gifts, save the paper for reuse; it can often be cut down for smaller presents. Creased wrapping can be ironed flat. Ribbons and bows are easy to save and reuse.