The holidays creep up on you like an old friend tapping your shoulder and saying, “surprise”. Before you know it, you could be running around with so much to do you forget about your green considerations. This holiday season get a head start and prepare your meal, your party, and even your gift giving in a way that coincides with your personal green movement. It is these small efforts that not only help the environment but also offer multiple teaching moments for those around you that might ask about your green holiday choices. With so many Eco-friendly options to choose from you don’t have to be the weird tree hugging relative that smells like patchouli and gives an unusable but recyclable gift. Now you can hand out or use some cool, technologically savvy, socially conscious, compostable, biodegradable, and non-toxic holiday items you can get behind.
Stock Up for Your Shindig
If you are hosting a holiday party you can go with completely Eco-friendly disposable bowls, cups, cutlery and more. Companies like Leafware and Vegware offer a catalogue of smart single use items that are compostable and biodegradable. These are designs made from sources such as fallen palm leaves, reclaimed wood, bamboo, and plant-based plastic to name a few.
Light It Right
Stringing holiday lights can be daunting, not to mention energy draining. Now, green tech has caught up with this mainstream tradition bringing energy efficient LED (light emitting diode) decorative lights to the table.As reported by Rainforest Alliance, “According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lights are have a longer lifespan and consume 70% less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. It costs $0.27 to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs, compared to $10 for incandescent lights. They’re also much less likely to burn out than incandescent lights. Another added benefit to LED lights—they radiate less heat than incandescent lights, making your tree less of a fire hazard.” Look for LED holiday lights here at Greenhome.com, or at your local hardware store.
Clever party decor designs need not always be purchased. There are plenty of do-it-yourself ways you can bring some personal touch to warm the atmosphere even more. Pot It – If you are one who likes a Christmas tree, choose a potted one this year. Even though live Christmas trees are mostly harvested responsibly, there is still fossil fuel transport and landfill methane release linked to this choice. Artificial trees are okay but the manufacturing and end life of these faux firs also negatively affect the environment. There are a variety of living trees in all sizes that you can decorate and keep afterwards for a true, green holiday. Mason Jar Top Ornaments – If you have a few old mason jar tops lying around, pop out the middle and wrap in a thin colorful or patterned cloth.
Attach twine to the mason top ring and replace the cloth covered middle. You can add a single stencil cutout of a sleigh, reindeer or snowflake glued to the middle of the material for extra cheer. Hang and enjoy! Go Garland Nuts – There are so many ways you can string favorite items into a fantastic holiday garland. Find an earth friendly twine from choices like organic cotton, bamboo or hemp. String with dried fruit like cranberries, oranges or apples, and in-between add cinnamon sticks, pinecones or popcorn. Adorn your tree, wreathe, fireplace area, doorframe or anywhere else your creation will shine.
This year, whether you are throwing a holiday party or going to one, opting out of material gifts and donating to a green cause could be your mantra. Suggest to friends how important the money spent on a fleeting sweater, blender or electronic could be put to better use when donated to organizations such as: Greenpeace, Climate Action Network, Environmental Defense Fund, Forest Stewardship Council, World Wide Fund for Nature, Natural Resources Defense Council, or The Sierra Club.
It has been documented over and over how, due to overwhelming demand, the agricultural industry is one of the top contributors to global warming. This is mainly the result of huge amounts of methane release from animal stock as well as excessive use of water to maintain factory farms, and the pollution they create. A primarily plant-based diet is linked to healthier living as well as responsibly utilizing natural resources to produce ten times (or more) food than animal products. This Thanksgiving avoid the turkey and try some Tofurky instead. Create an unconventional meal of brown rice and beans, dark green leafy vegetables, squash, potatoes, and so much more for clean eating and easy digestion. There is so much more you can do to create an earth friendly holiday that speaks volumes of what you want to accomplish. With so much waste, disposable habits, and overeating meat, fish and dairy it is still an uphill battle to penetrate social, cultural and even religious “norms”. However, with small (or large) steps like these and any others you can come up with, things may very well change for the better.