10 Ways to Green your Holidays

1.Send electronic holiday cards
E-cards are a less expensive and more environmentally friendly option than print greeting cards.  If sending print cards, save a tree and purchase ones made from recycled paper.

2. Recycle Your Christmas Tree
Of the 50 million Christmas trees sold in the US each year, 30 million go to landfills.  Christmas trees ARE recyclable, and many cities offer programs to turn your tree to mulch or wood chips.  Call (800) CLEANUP or visit www.earth911.org to find the tree-recycling program near you.

3. Seek Alternatives to Wrapping Paper
According to the Recycler’s Handbook, half of the paper Americans consume each year is used to wrap and decorate consumer products.  When possible, try to seek wrapping paper alternatives, use recyclable bags, or re-use old wrapping paper, material scraps or gift bags.

4. Use Energy-Saving Holiday Lights
LED holiday lights use much less electricity than conventional lights, and according to the DOE they are safer, less breakable, easier to install, and last much longer.   If you are upgrading, remember to recycle your old lights!  Retailers like Home Depot offer rebates on new LED lights when recycling older lights.

5. Give a Gift that Gives Back
Make a donation to a charity in a friend or family member’s name.

6. Give a Gift that’s Green
Help friends and family go green with gifts such as light timers, compost bins, or an eco-friendly cook book.

7. Give Homemade Gifts
Share your hobby as a holiday gift for neighbors, family, and friends.

8. Green your Holiday Travel
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the majority of long-distance holiday travel, almost 91%, is by personal vehicle.  Between 5 and 6% of holiday trips are by air, and 2-3% are by train, bus, ship, etc.   If you have to travel to your holiday destination, consider carpooling, taking mass transit, or renting a hybrid/fuel efficient vehicle.

9. Add Organic and Local Foods to Your Holiday Feast
According to the USDA, the number of winter farmers markets has increased greatly in the past several years.  Hit one up to get fresh local ingredients for your holiday meal.  Click here to find one near you.

10. Compost your Leftovers
Compost any leftovers from your holiday meal that don’t get consumed.  Compost makes for a great fertilizer!