In a previous post, we talked about how smart house technology can help you save money and energy over the holidays, but you can still have a green holiday even if you don't have any electronic gadgets to keep track of your energy use. Here are some simple strategies to help you reduce the waste that's so common around the holidays:
- Recycle wrapping paper: The prevalence of packaging waste during the holiday season is stunning — household garbage increases by a million tons (literally) between Thanksgiving and New Year's. When you think about it, wrapping paper isn't really "used up" after one use, so you can carefully unwrap presents and save the paper to use next year. There are also numerous wrapping paper companies that make their product from recycled paper, or you can even wrap presents in fabric or a bag that you can reuse later.
- Use LED Christmas lights: We've already sung the praises of LED lights in the home, and they are equally as useful for holiday decorating. Substitute LED light strings for your traditional energy-wasting Christmas lights for financial and environmental savings.
- Choose the tree thoughtfully: Artificial Christmas trees are more eco-friendly than the traditional chopped evergreen, but some varieties made in China may contain lead, so be careful when choosing a brand. If you want the traditional real-tree experience, you can bring in a potted tree and plant it outside afterwards.
- Recycle or forego Christmas cards: All the Christmas cards that get sent around this time of year represent a massive waste of paper, so consider either sending out greetings by email or making your own cards out of recycled materials.