A More Sustainable Christmas

Christmas is full of meaningful traditions and joyful experiences, and for many of us it is the most wonderful time of the year. But it can also have a dark side. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, household waste increases by 25%. That amounts to an extra 100 million tons of trash making its way to our landfills each week! That is an absolutely shocking amount of waste, and it affects our environment, our health, and our world’s future. Together, we can make small sustainable decisions that will help lead to big change.

 

Cards

Who doesn’t love getting Christmas cards? It’s a welcome change from bills and junk mail and a great way to keep in touch with your loved ones around the country. Choose recycled (and recyclable) cards and envelopes to keep waste at a minimum this year.

 

Give the gift of an experience  

Sometimes gifting an experience means so much more than giving a tangible gift. It also doesn’t usually produce as much waste. Concert tickets, a trip to a museum, a long weekend in a secluded cabin, or simply a quiet morning are all great options.

 

Food 

At Christmas, a lot of time is spent in the kitchen cooking and baking (and sneaking sips of eggnog). By choosing organic, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible you can make a serious impact on the environment. Also, by making conscious choices about how much you make, you can ensure that less food is wasted. Composting and avoiding disposable plates and utensils are other ways to keep waste out of landfills.

 

Christmas Lighting

Choosing LED Christmas lights is an easy way to make your holiday more sustainable. They are more expensive up front, but they last longer and use far less electricity than traditional lights. That means less materials in landfills in the long run, and less energy consumption.

 Unplug your appliances before you leave for your holiday vacation or go out of town for family visits. It’s an easy way to save energy.

 

Ornaments

Decorating the tree is one of the best ways to get into the spirit! Don’t forget that there are so many options for ornaments that are made with sustainable and recycled materials. It’s easier than you think to avoid plastic decorations. You can even make decorations from biscuits!

 

Recycle

Be sure to think about how you discard all the extra packaging that finds its way into your home this time of year. Find ways to reuse what you can, and then find out what your community accepts as recycling and be diligent about sorting your trash properly. It’s no secret that Styrofoam is extremely harmful to the environment, especially our oceans, but many people don’t know it can be recycled. Find your local Styrofoam drop-off and do your part to keep the Earth clean!

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