By reducing waste and “going green,” you may be able to save some green in the process. Studies show holiday preparations, including gift-giving, holiday decorations and food preparation, increase the nation’s trash by an extra one million tons per week during the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Some environmentally-friendly and cost-saving ideas include:
- Give home-baked goodies in reusable containers like baskets, tins or jars.
- Give non-materialistic “green” gifts that do not require wrapping, such as gift certificates for massages, to restaurants, cooking classes, sailing lessons, etc.
- Give a gift of time or talent. Take someone to a play, concert or movie. Make gift certificates for a special dinner, pet-sitting or house cleaning. Offer your talents at gardening, photography or financial planning — or better yet, teach someone a skill you possess such as knitting, woodworking or playing an instrument.
- Send holiday e-cards instead of paper greeting cards or make sure the ones you buy have recycled content material.
- When shipping, reuse foam peanuts or other packaging materials.
- If you have several events or parties in a short amount of time, buy food items in bulk. You will save a trip to the grocery and use less packaging.
- Shop at thrift stores for unique gift items or holiday decorations.
- Save all gift-wrapping and decorations to reuse later or wrap gifts in old maps, posters, sheet music, fabric or wallpaper scraps.
- Give a compost bin, can crusher, water timer, programmable thermostat, rain barrel, house plant, bird feeder, light timers or bat house.
- Use reusable grocery and shopping bags and make sure to recycle the non-reusable ones.
- Try not to use disposable plates, cups, napkins and silverware. If you do buy disposable products look for ones with recycled content.
- If a tree is part of your celebration, buy one that can be replanted in your yard. If you can’t replant your tree, compost it after the holidays.