Monday, December 12, 2011

Going Green & Saving Green This Winter Holiday Season

I love the holidays, the lights, the festivities, but I hate the impact over-consumption can have on the environment. Making eco-friendly choices can not only save energy or prevent needless paper & plastic waste from going into the landfills, but save money in the long run.

Here are some ideas I've used in the past. I hope will give you some very green holiday cheer!

Packaging - Use recycled and recyclable materials: It’s easy to be attracted to the shiny, metallic paper but recycled wrapping paper can be just as pretty and less taxing on the landfill. For a cheaper alternative, reuse gift bags decorated with old holiday cards or cutout snowflakes. (Great for covering store logos). Reuse bows and ribbons.

Natural products make great gift decorations: Instead of plastic bows, try a natural gift decoration like holly and berries, eucalyptus leaves, rosemary or olive branches. They look beautiful and if they’re from your yard, they don’t cost a thing!

Use canvas bags as gift wrap: An alternative to gift bags is packaging your present in reusable canvas shopping bags that the recipient can use year-round. The Clean Green Bag Company makes affordable, sturdy grocery bags available at But you can buy cute canvas shopping bags anywhere these days, and many stores, like Target will give you a few cents off every time you use your bag instead of taking one of their plastic ones.

Starter environmental kit: I'm amazed that some folks don't know about some truly great green, biodegradable cleaning products and everyone needs cleaning products so this will be a truly useful gift. Start with your favorite cleaning products (I love Seventh Generation) and add compact-fluorescent bulbs, and garbage bags made from recycled plastic or biodegradable garbage bags. "Wrap" them in a canvas bag.

Gift cards: From restaurants to grocery stores, book and coffee shops, there is a gift card for everyone; and giving a card lets the individual get exactly what she or he wants. For a coffee lover (like me), give them a gift card from their favorite coffeehouse “wrapped” in a travel mug. Using the mug will save them 10 cents each time, stretching their gift card while saving the landfill from unnecessary cups.

Candles: Cut down on your emissions by choosing soy candles over paraffin. They burn cleaner, are more fragrant, and are available everywhere– including Target.

Energy-Efficient Holiday Lights: Look for LED lights or energy-saving lights for lighting your tree or home. The initial price may be more than regular lights, but you’ll save in energy costs.

If you have ideas to add, please post a comment and I'll incorporate them into my next holiday season. Happy Holidays all!!

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