Defy the Consumer Christmas! Instead of going into the red to buy things that will rarely be used, stay green – and sane — this Christmas season with simple eco-friendly tips. You’ll simplify your life, reduce your carbon footprint, and save money as well. A very merry Christmas indeed!
1. The Great Tree Debate: Live or Artificial?
Is it more eco-friendly to use a live Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree? It’s a debate often heard amongst eco-nerds: is the reusability of an artificial tree enough to compensate for its plastic components? Isn’t it bad to cut down trees for the sake of holiday décor? The easy answer: it’s better for the environment to use a live Christmas tree. The fine print: this is only true if the tree is grown from a tree farm that continually replaces trees. If you go all Clark Griswold and chop down a tree in the forest that will never be replaced, then you’re better with the artificial one. If you live in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County offers free Christmas tree recycling so your tree will soon become someone’s compost.
2. Use LED Lights
Switching to LED bulbs for your Christmas lights is an easy way to green your Christmas décor. According to Consumer Reports, LED lights run about 1 – 3 kilowatt hours of energy, while the traditional incandescent lights use 12 – 105 kw. As the reduced temperature of LED bulbs means they can use plastic instead of glass, they’re also the safer and more durable choice.
3. Buy Less Stuff
Christmas presents usually mean a lot of unnecessary stuff floating around – producing those things takes an environmental toll while not always providing much meaning for the recipient (how many lotion sets does a girl need?). Give meaningful, less “thing”-oriented presents like tickets, food or donations, presents that provide meaning without adding to the piles of stuff that wind up in attics and closets – and later, in landfills. To see the full impact of your purchases, read the anti-Cyber Monday ad from Patagonia called, “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” You’ll be amazed by the environmental impact of making a single jacket.
4. Get Original with Gift Wrap
Reduce your paper consumption by creating your own wrapping paper for gifts. TreeLiving has several creative ideas to set your gifts apart, including creating gift wrap from children’s art work, old maps, or even fabric. Beat that, Hallmark.
5. Buy Less Holiday Décor
Why purchase new decorations that you’ll only use once a year? Try to repurpose decorations you have already: use glass dishes as unique votive holders, decorate your tree (or even centerpieces) with pinecones from your yard, use wine bottles for candlesticks. The Green Your site has a list of ideas to get your creativity flowing.