greenAlthough you may celebrate the holiday season by observing family traditions and counting your blessings, if you aren’t careful, you can end up spending too much money, wasting natural resources and creating unnecessary waste. What are measurable examples of how wasteful habits can negatively impact the world during the holidays?

Statistics show that Americans often toss out an extra 25% more garbage during the winter holidays, and 35% of the population ends up with presents they really don’t want or need.

Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to prevent that type of waste. Every time you make wise green decisions when purchasing gifts, decorating your home or even when sending holiday greeting cards — you use less energy, consume fewer natural resources and create less waste — which helps to keep the environment healthy and people and the planet safe.

Here are several ways to help you go green and reduce waste during the holidays.

Purchasing Gifts

Making eco-friendly choices when purchasing gifts will not only save you money and earn the respect of your friends and family, but it can also help keep waste out of landfills.

  • Purchase gifts made from recycled materials, locally produced and grown or make presents yourself, such as homemade fudge or coupons for household tasks.
  • Make sure to carry reusable bags for transporting your gifts. What should you do if you forget? Reuse the bag the shop provided during your next shopping excursion or purchase an inexpensive bag that you can use as gift wrapping in the future.

Decorating Your Home

The eco-friendly decisions you make when decorating your home will ensure your home looks beautiful during the holiday season and will make you feel good about protecting the environment.

  • Purchase a plant or live tree that you can keep or give to a charitable organization after the holidays.
  • Decorate with no lighting at all or use energy efficient LED lighting and a timer or to avoid energy waste. How can LED lights benefit the environment? When compared to incandescent lighting, LED lights do not break as easily, have a longer life and use 80% less energy.
  • Adorn your home with recycled or reusable materials, such as cuttings from your yard, fresh fruit and vegetables, and potted plants that you already have on hand.

Holiday Messages

You can send the message that you want to help the environment by ensuring your holiday choices are always eco-friendly.

  • Choose greeting cards that use recycled materials and do not contain extra trimmings such as batteries, foil and ribbons so they can be easily recycled.
  • Make your own greeting cards using your old photographs, newspaper recipe clippings, comics, buttons and other small, unwanted trinkets from your drawers and closets.
  • Even better, send e-cards and save on postage too!

Oftentimes it is easier than you think to incorporate sustainable habits into your holiday activities. Plus, any green action you take not only helps reduce waste during the holidays, but can also help you save money and make the world a better place for future generations.

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