While Christmas is sometimes white, it generally isn’t
green. All that one-time-use wrapping paper and packaging, fuel spent traveling
and shipping presents, and energy used to light up trees and houses means the
holiday season takes a toll on the environment.
In fact, Americans produce about 1 million extra tons of
trash around the holidays, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, which reported that the volume of
between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day rises by 25 percent above
So to take pity on Mother Nature while celebrating Father
Christmas, here are some tips:
— or better yet, forgo it altogether. Try making your own wrapping
paper and trimmings from newspapers, paper bags, art projects, clothes, dish
towels, etc. And if you do buy new wrapping paper, go for the kind without
glossy metallic coating, which makes it harder to recycle.
Much of the worst impact to the environment comes from all the carbon dioxide emitted
by the transportation we use to get around during the holidays. Consider
limiting your plane travel (the worst offender) and long car rides. If you must
drive, carpool, and try to schedule around traffic, to reduce the amount of
time you idle and waste fuel.
If you’re cooking and having company over, chances are you can
get away with lowering the heat in your house, because the body warmth and heat
from the oven should help compensate.
Lose the lights.
Think about cutting back on excessive house and yard lights — is it really necessary
to see your glow-in-the-dark inflatable Santa from the next town over? And if
you are decorating with lights, try switching to
, which can use 90 percent less energy than regular holiday
Buy in bulk.
Instead of purchasing cans of soda, small bags of chips, and serving-size
baking supplies, stock up on bulk goods to reduce packaging waste.
Use real dishes.
While disposable plates and silverware are easier if you’re hosting crowds, the
environment will thank you if you buck up and do the dishes.
Serve less meat.
pork, and, especially, beef, take a heavier toll on the environment than
veggies. Cows, in particular, produce copious amounts of methane, which is even
worse for global warming than carbon dioxide. So instead of serving the turkey,
the ham and the pot roast side-by-side, consider replacing some of the meat on
your menu with tofu or veggies.
Use a real tree
– and then recycle it when it’s done! Though it may feel sad to cut down a tree
for the holidays, consider that
are grown expressly for the purpose (so you’re not
contributing to deforestation), and can be planted or composted when you’re
done with them. Plastic trees, in contrast, require petroleum to make, and then
can’t be recycled easily when you’re through with them.
This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at www.livescience.com