Tips for a more sustainable holiday season from our intern extraordinaire, Diane Lawrence
The holidays are a wonderful time centered around family, cheer, and the idea of giving. Moving away from our consumerist mentality and focusing on these key values, we can also be more conscious of the holidays’ effect on the environment. Did you know that Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve? That’s a lot of excess waste! To help eliminate this waste and to conserve our natural resources, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to keep in mind during all the festivities this holiday season:
- Decorate with LED string lights – they save 90% more energy than incandescent lights and will last up to 100,000 hours
- Set your lights on a timer – turning on the lights only once it’s dark will avoid unnecessary energy use
- Use bows and garlands instead – replacing lights with this energy-free option will cut back on your electricity bill and the planet will thank you
- Use a real tree – artificial trees consume energy and petroleum based materials during production, plus real trees have that authentic pine smell!
- Compost your tree – they are a great source as mulch after the holidays
- Donate excess food to the food bank (if possible) – the holidays tend to mean lots of leftovers, help someone in need instead of throwing that extra food away
- Send invitations and holiday letters via email – save a tree by sending your holiday mail digitally this year
- Use your finest tableware – instead of disposable plates and utensils, which will reduce waste and make your table look festive
- Lower the thermostat during a party – the body heat should be enough to keep you warm!
- Do a Secret Santa exchange – reducing your gift giving to one person saves you money and allows you to focus more on one special gift while also reducing the total consumption of your family
- Give battery free gifts – the EPA estimates that 40% of all battery sales occur during the holidays, keep these hazardous materials out of the landfill by giving a gift that doesn’t require batteries
- (and our favorite) Give a gift made from reused or recycled materials – or make one yourself! Look for materials down at The RE Store to create a thoughtful homemade gift – or give a gift certificate to The RE Store for that person on your list in need of home project materials.
Thanks to Diane for all her work with us this semester!