It’s the most wonderful time of year, with not only visions of sugarplums dancing in your head, but also last-minute shopping lists, decorating ideas, travel logistics and holiday meal preparation. If you believe it’s hard to integrate the environmental green with your holiday green, think again. We’ve put together a sleigh-full of no-fuss, fun tips for making the season bright—and eco-friendly!
Shopping and Gifting
- Keep reusable shopping bags in your car. You never know when you’ll have to run out for more eggnog, flour or that last minute gift.
- Get creative and make your own wrapping paper using extra fabric, maps, your children’s artwork or reused tissue paper. Use twine to secure fresh sprigs of holly and pinecones for a beautiful natural look.
- For that hard-to-shop-for loved one, consider making a donation to your favorite charity on their behalf.
- If you give electronic gifts, make sure to include rechargeable batteries. If you receive electronics gifts, make sure to properly recycle your old electronics.
- Shop at your local farmer’s market for fresh, seasonal flavors.
- Send e-cards and e-vites rather than paper cards. You’ll save time, money and paper.
- Place a recycling bin next to your trash can where it will be easy for guests to find.
- Choose reusable plates, cups and utensils when entertaining. If you have to use paper products, make sure these are made from recycled paper and plastic.
In the Kitchen
- Don’t use the garbage disposal. It does chop up organic matter, but bits and pieces of food particles still pass through, which can clog up your drain. If you must use it, please be mindful of its limitations.
- Don’t put food particles directly down your sink either! When washing dishes, use a strainer in your sink drain to catch any food scraps, and then throw them in the trash or into compost. Keep our water quality intact!
- If you have gallons of fryer oil to dispose of, recycle it at your community’s transfer or recycling center. For a list of local fryer oil recycling locations visit www.askhrgreen.org/fryer-oil-recycling-locations
- For more ways to keep a clean, green kitchen visit www.askHRgreen.org.
- Be a greener cleaner by using a vinegar and water solution instead of harsh cleaning products. It will leave a streak-free shine every time.
The Tree and all the Trimmings
- Fill your house with the fresh scent that only a real tree can deliver.
- Decorate with fewer lights or put your lights on a timer. Replace older lights with energy efficient LED strands.
- After Christmas, reuse your naturally grown Christmas tree by taking the decorations off (including tinsel) and placing it in a quiet corner of your yard as a wildlife habitat area. Or, recycle it. Check back with www.askHRgreen.org for a list of pickup times and drop-off locations in each locality for naturally grown Christmas trees.
- If you’re thinking of getting rid of your artificial Christmas tree, but it’s still in good shape, donate it. Many people can’t afford Christmas trees, and a donated artificial tree can help a family celebrate the season.