It’s the holiday season, and you know what that means: Non-stop Love Actually marathons! Chocolate binges! Hanson’s Snowed In on repeat! Okay, maybe that’s just what it means for me. However you prepare for the holidays, here are some ideas to help you do so in an environmentally friendly way!
Use LED Lights
LED lights contain no toxins and use almost 90% less energy than incandescent lights. They also outlast both incandescent and compact fluorescent lights. Paris has been using LED lights for their holiday decorating since 2008.
Buy a Real Tree
Artificial trees use large amounts of both energy and non-renewable resources to produce and ship. The average tree grown at a farm to be cut down for the holidays is about seven years old. Over those seven years, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and protects soil from erosion. To be even more environmentally friendly, get your tree from an organic local farm to support your community and protect yourself from pesticides! The ultimate green in holiday trees are potted. This is what my family went with this year. Pick out a cute little tree friend in a pot, bring him inside for the holidays, and then plant him in your yard to enjoy his company for years to come! Don’t have a yard? Donate your potted tree to a local park!
Recycle Your Tree
So you found an organic, local tree and loved and nurtured him through the holidays. But now it’s time to decorate for my birthday (January 4th, btw) and a big tree just doesn’t fit with your glitter princess motif. Don’t just throw your tree away! 10 million holiday trees end up in landfills every year, but recycling them is so simple! Most cities offer tree recycling programs where they turn your holiday pal into mulch or wood chips (don’t worry, they don’t make you watch.) Call (800)CLEANUP or visit www.earth911.org to find a tree recycling program near you!
Put Down the Wrapping Paper!
I know it’s glittery. I know it has cute penguins. But there are other options! Don’t contribute to deforestation. I can hear the weeping of the rainforest from here. Or maybe that’s just my Snowed In cd starting to skip after thirteen years. Regardless, why buy wrapping paper when there are so many creative and fun ways to wrap a present? Here are some great ideas by LA-based jewelry designer and blogger Mr. Kate:
Give Eco Gifts
Here’s an idea from my lovely friend and fellow Urchin, Geo! Geo says: Always wanted to get your friend to stop buying plastic water bottles? Now’s the perfect opportunity to buy them a reusable water bottle. Sometimes it’s hard for people to take the first step in going green. This holiday season, why not do it for them? Okay, Sarah again! I would recommend the BPA and Phthalate free aluminum bottles from Sigg . Mine’s been around the world with me over the past three years and is still good as new. Also, given that over 300 billion coffee cups are thrown away ever year, I’d like to add that travel coffee mugs are great eco-friendly gifts for the caffeine junkies in your life.
According to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and two-thirds of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems. 70 percent of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures. The EPA reports that millions of gallons of liquefied feces and urine have seeped into the environment from collapsed, leaking or overflowing storage lagoons, and flowed into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands and groundwater. This year, my family will be veganising some traditional Hungarian and family Christmas cookie recipes, as well as enjoying some vegan biscuits and gravy for breakfast! Bonus points, of course, for using local produce and composting any scraps!