Spreading holiday cheer is good for the soul and it can be lighter on the planet. Here are our top picks for making the Earth the star of your holiday list.
- Reuse it. In the US, 4 million tons of wrapping paper is discarded during the holidays alone. Did you know we could save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields if every family wrapped just 3 presents with reused materials? Check your cupboards for paper and bags that can be spruced up and used again and you’ll reduce our overcrowded landfills.
- Dispose of it. Don’t let the excitement of the holidays throw you off your recycling and composting habits. Remember: those sweater boxes and wine bottles are recyclable. And maybe soon we’ll all have the option to return packaging to the stores where we bought items, like they do in Sweden.
- Plant it. If having a tree is a part of your holiday tradition, choose a tree that can be replanted when the season ends and you’ll keep the natural oxygen-producing qualities of that tree alive for all of us.
- Time it. When the house is full of guests, the hot water heater can take a beating. Limit showers to 3 minutes by putting an egg timer in the bathroom and you’ll save at least 2 gallons of water for each minute that a shower is cut short.
- Brush it. Ok, we know you’re going to eat candy canes and popcorn, but don’t forget your good oral care habits over the holidays. Grab a stash of eco-friendly toothbrushes for the guest bathroom and keep everyone smiling. And remember to turn off the water when you brush and you’ll save 90 glasses of water a day.
- Turn it down. Lowering a thermostat even 1 degree can reduce a home’s energy consumption by as much as 3%.
- Recharge it. Tis the season for stuff that needs batteries. Choose rechargeable batteries and you’ll help keep these hazardous materials out of landfills and save money.
- Light it up. LED holiday lights use up to 90% less energy than conventional lights. And because they don’t heat up the way old-fashioned lights do, they help reduce the risk of fire.
- Wash it. Holidays mean lots of dishes. Forget virgin paper and plastic plates for entertaining and choose reusable options that can be washed in the dishwasher. Most energy efficient models use less than 5 gallons of water for a complete cycle, as opposed to 2 gallons per minute for washing dishes by hand.
- Make it. Hand-made items like jewelry, organic jams and jellies, or note-cards made from reclaimed paper are more meaningful and more cost-effective.
- Sanitize it. We all need to protect ourselves from germs this holiday and while hand washing does the job, it uses water, soap and usually, paper towels. Keep it green by choosing hand-sanitizer and putting it on the counter for all to use.