12 Ways to Have an Eco Friendly Holiday
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans throw away a million extra tons of garbage each week, including holiday wrapping and packaging. We also use more electricity on holiday lights than some countries use in an entire year. All this waste is really unnecessary.
Here are twelve eco friendly holiday tips to help you reduce your environmental footprint this holiday season.
1. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper or Go Without
Most mass-produced wrapping paper you find in stores is not recyclable because of the shiny coatings, foils and colors, and therefore ends up in landfills. And sadly, most wrapping paper and ribbon is produced in Asian sweatshops!
What a shame so much water, oil and trees are wasted every year solely to produce something that exists only to be torn off and thrown away!
Instead, here’s a great chance to get creative! Wrap presents with old maps, the comics section of a newspaper, or children’s artwork. Or use a scarf, attractive dish towel, bandana, or some other useful cloth item that is a gift in and of itself.
You could even go without wrapping your gifts altogether. A Small Footprint Family Facebook fanrecently told me that at her home, she hides all the unwrapped presents around the house, and holds a scavenger hunt for the kids to find them.
What a fun, clever, low-waste idea!
2. Buy Energy-Saving LED Holiday Lights
Thanks to technology, you can now decorate your house with LED lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights, and can save your family up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season! As an added bonus, LEDs release little heat, and they last about 200,000 hours. In the unlikely event that one does burn out, the rest of the lights keep on glowing. Whew!
According to one U.S. Department of Energy study, if everyone replaced their conventional holiday light strings with LEDs, at least two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity could be saved in a month. The savings would be enough to power 200,000 homes for a year!
LED lights are available online and at many major retailers.
Almost all holiday lights contain a tiny amount of lead between the wires and the plastic that covers the wires, so keep them away from children and wash your hands after installing them.
They are a bit pricier, but for the ultimate green holiday lighting, you can find lead-free, LED holiday lights here.