Black Friday is almost upon us, then the mad holiday shopping dash to the Christmas finish line. Now’s the time to consider ways to make your holiday season greener.
Here are 21 practical tips on how to do just that, courtesy of the Environmental Stewardship Committee of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:
* Combine multiple trips to stores or share rides with family, friends and neighbors to save fuel.
* Shop for gifts online to reduce energy consumption and air pollution.
* Use your own reusable bags for shopping or combine purchases from different stores in one
Try these gift ideas:
* Avoid giving gifts that will be thrown away, use excessive packaging, or are made from
environmentally sensitive materials.
* Purchase gifts made from recycled materials or use natural materials (e.g. unbleached cotton or
* Choose durable , energy-efficient gifts that use wind-up power or rechargeable batteries.
* Give non-material gifts such as tickets to an event, spa visit, or membership to a museum or
* Prepare edible gifts such as bread, cookies, dried fruits, or nuts. Package them in reusable tins,
baskets, jars, or decorative bags or boxes. You can also sew, knit or paint a homemade gift.
* Give children an environmental excursion, such as whale-watching or camping trip.
When wrapping gifts:
* Buy recycled wrapping paper.
* Use popcorn or newspaper for packing and reuse your packing materials. Also reuse boxes,
baskets, bags and tins.
* Send e-mail holiday greeting cards.
When decorating for the holidays:
* Buy a living Christmas tree and plant it outside after Christmas.
* If you buy a cut tree, take it to a collection center so it will be recycled for mulch.
* When decorating the tree, minimize the size and amount of electric lights to save energy.
* Operate lights for no more than six evening hours a day to save reduce energy use and costs.
* Use energy efficient LED light strings.
* Collect bottles and cans for recycling.
* Use regular dishes instead of disposable ones or those made out of recycled paper.
* Turn down the heat a few degrees before guests arrive. Their body heat will warm up the room.
* Donate leftover food to local food banks and shelters.
Have a happy, green holiday season.