The holiday season is a perfect time to incorporate some environmentally friendly practices. For many, it’s a time to evaluate our moral foundations, and sustainability is one way to say thanks to the world. There are simple ways to incorporate environmentally friendly practices, like buying local ingredients that are in season. There are also ways to go above and beyond with your sustainable efforts to show love and appreciation for the world around us. Some examples include:
- LED. Using LED lights instead of traditional holiday lights that use incandescent bulbs is an eco-friendly way to celebrate and save on the life of your holiday lights over time.
- Recycle your tree. Instead of dumping your tree at the end of the season, buy a re-plantable tree and plant it as a family to continue a new holiday tradition. If you aren’t planning to plant your Christmas tree, make sure it is recycled by taking to a composting site or a wood chipper. Even better, buy an artificial tree to reuse year after year.
- Wrap Sustainably. Instead of using paper that is wasted every year, use newspaper as a recycled wrapper, or make your wrapping part of the gift. Scarves and other items can wrap and be part of a holiday gift. Cloth that is colorful and reusable can be festive and eco-friendly.
- Exchange eco-donations. Instead of giving gifts this holiday season, donate to an environmental charity on behalf of someone you would normally buy a gift for. It is the kind of gift that keeps on giving.
- E-cards. For the people on your list you normally send a holiday card to, consider sending an e-card. E-cards let people know you care about and are thinking of them around the holidays without wasting paper.
- Use essential oils and sustainable candles. Making the house smell great doesn’t have to include chemicals. Use potpourri and essential oil diffusers to make your house smell like oranges and cinnamon and other holiday scents without environmentally harmful ingredients. Many candles are made from petroleum products which are harmful for the environment. Find candles that are made from beeswax or coconut oil as an ecofriendly alternative. They also smell fantastic!
- For kids. Avoid soft plastic, and look for organic and naturally dyed ingredients. Regular chalk can contain harmful chemicals, but chalk made from organic materials is 100% safe for children. Old fashioned wooden gifts are fun and sustainable options for children. Some gifts even donate a portion of the proceeds to charities, making the gift even more special.
- Clean green. Using vinegar as a cleaning agent around the holidays is an environmentally friendly way to stay green around the holidays. Add essential oils that remind you of holiday cheer, and you’ll be ready for a fun and eco-friendly holiday gathering in no time. Have clearly marked recycling bins for guests to discard glass and plastic while they mingle.
- Leftovers. Instead of throwing away the leftovers from a holiday gathering, send home doggie bags with guests or donate uneaten food to a local charity. There are also many great day after recipes to reuse ingredients and enjoy in the time following a holiday gathering.
For more eco-friendly tips and articles, visit the Eco Plumbers blog!