Christmas is not usually what one thinks of when thinking 'green'. With the Climate Change summit upon us in Copenhagen we need to act locally to send a message to the world that we do care about the environment in the U.S. A easy way to start is to green up the holidays.
There are many ways we can reduce our energy consumption and reduce waste during this time of year.
1. Switch from traditional Christmas lights to L.E.D. Lights. They will reduce your energy consumption greatly, the average string of 50 lights uses 300 watts of energy, the same 50 set of LED lights only uses 4 watts of energy and last up to 100,000 hours. The initial cost is high but it pays off in the long-run.
2. Put all your lights on timers. By putting all your lights on timers (inside and out), you will save energy by controlling the amount of hours your lights are on.
3. Decorate using nature. Try decorating your home using natural items. Pine cones and fresh greens make a beautiful centerpiece for a table or swag for the mantle. Adding pine cones or holly berries to your Christmas tree will give it an elegant, natural touch. All these decorations can also be mulched or composted after the season is over.
4. Try buying gifts that will actually get used for more than a week or two. Books, movies, soccer balls or roller skates and other toys that use kid power not battery power. Buying all that plastic crap that the kids see on TV is just like throwing money down the drain, and polluting our environment. The toy of the month advertised at Toys R' Us or Target is not going to make them happy.They'll play with it for a week or two, then you will find it in the corner of their closet collecting dust. Then what do you do with it? You can't throw it away because you know it will go to the landfill so you have to hope someone at Goodwill will buy it and make use of it.
5. Don't waste food. The holidays are the biggest eating time of the year. We cook more, bake like crazy and overindulge. Make sure any and all food scraps (except meat and dairy) go into the compost pile, not the trash can! Freeze or share what you cannot eat yourselves. If you have an abundance of leftovers. Cookies, cakes and pies given to a shelter or nursing home are usually greatly appreciated.
6. When setting your holiday table, go ahead and use the good china! If you have them, cloth napkins are the way to go. It saves waste from entering our landfills. Paper napkins, plasticware and plastic or paper plates is a huge tax on our landfills and they take a lot of energy and trees to make. If you must go disposable, paper napkins and paper plates can be easily composted with your kitchen scraps. This will make clean up a breeze.
7. Use eco friendly wrappings. Use recycled gift bags, Comics, decorate brown paper bags for wrapping paper. At the very least do not throw your wrapping paper into the trash! Wrapping paper can be recycled just like any other paper.
8. Make lists and condense your shopping trips as much as possible, or better yet, do your shopping online. This will save lots of $$ on fuel and also keep your life simpler and less aggravating.