Green Your Holidays: 5 Simple Ways to Minimize Your Impact

If someone was to add one more item to my “to-do” list during the holidays, I think I’d have a meltdown worse than Frosty the Snowman could even comprehend. frosty-the-snowman--large-msg-135586859246Recently however I got into a conversation with a friend about the environmental impact our country imparts on the Earth during the holiday season. Astounded by some statistics they shared, I decided to do a bit of my own research. Here’s some information I found:

From giftwrap, to food waste, to excess packaging, the holidays do in fact have a major impact. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than during any other time of the year. The extra waste can amount up to 5 million tons.

Don’t abort mission after reading this sentence, but have you considered “greening” your holidays? What if I told you that lessening your footprint in preparation for and throughout the holidays actually wasn’t that difficult? Check  out the following tips!

5 Simple Ways to Minimize Your Holiday Impact

  1. static.squarespaceCarpool with friends or colleagues to holiday functions. You will cut down on fossil fuel usage all while enjoying the company of another person! If you are traveling long distances consider rideshare services such as Zimride, Lyft Line, or Ridejoy.
  2. Consider eco-friendly gifts or at least consider the impact on the environment when purchasing presents. Is the item durable? Can it be passed down? Will it be outdated in 6 months? Better yet how about purchasing a gift that actually benefits the environment?! Teeki makes yoga pants out of recycled plastic bottles for all the eco-conscious ladies in your life. Klean Kanteens are a great alternative to single use water bottles. How about giving an experience instead of a gift? Wine tasting for two? An Airbnb reservation? The options are endless! For smaller gifts there are hundreds of eco-chic holiday presents such as funky and fun reusable snack bags or Bento boxes.
  3. If you will be staying in a hotel, when searching to make reservations try to support hotels that have environmentally friendly certifications such as Green Seal or Green Key Global. You might also want to take into consideration how far your hotel is from where you will be traveling.
  4. ghk-holiday-lights-richard-s3-medium_newDo you deck out the house with lights? Make sure to use energy efficient LED’s rather than outdated or old fashioned styles. Make sure to turn your lights of during the day as well.
  5. Are you planning on getting a tree? Downsize from normal size to reduce inputs and check to see if your city has a recycling system to grind your tree into mulch. Do you live in California? Here is an informative breakdown of how each respective county recycles trees. Keep in mind that flocked trees cannot be recycled or turned into mulch.

The holidays are to be cherished and enjoyed and downsizing your footprint throughout the season does not have to be a burden!

I invite you to consider putting these simple tips into action. Do you have any more ideas? Be sure to add them in the comments section below!

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Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 12.47.47 PMImages courtesy of:

1) (Frosty the Snowman)

2) (passengers in car)

3) (Christmas lights on house)

4) (Happy Holidays graphic)


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