Dec 15 - Tips For a "Greener" Holiday Season

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In the midst of the holiday season, give a gift to the Earth by following these simple tips. Celebrate the holidays with the mantra "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" in mind.

Decorating Tips

  • Instead of buying wrapping paper, use newspapers, like the Sunday comics. Here are some other eco friendly gift wrapping ideas.
  • Instead of cutting down a Christmas tree, or using a plastic tree, give a potted tree a brief (4-7 day) indoor holiday before being planted in your backyard.
  • Buy decorations at a second-hand store, swap with friends or neighbors, or use organic products like pine cones for decorations. Donate any working but unwanted decorations for reuse.
  • Use energy efficient (LED) lighting.
  • If your old holiday lights no longer work, recycle them. If your community doesn't have a seasonal recycling program, you can always mail them in with no recycling fee.

Gift-Giving Tips

  • Purchase a service or an activity as a gift instead of material goods - such as ice skating, movie tickets, or a massage. Or make your own gifts.
  • Donate a gift to nonprofits like Oxfam - shoppers can give meaningful gifts to everyone on their list, in the form of a practical donation to someone in need. Options range from farm animals like chickens, or a sheep—to daily essentials like soap, an efficient cooking stove, or a blankets.
  • You can also make a donation to CAW on behalf of another person - it's easy, there's no wrapping or waste involved, and tax-deductible. Click here.
  • Consider electronic holiday cards and invitations. Make your own or use a website for help. You can even add a personal photograph to e-cards. Check out some free e-card websites here.

Before You Buy

  • Read the labels of gifts carefully - don't buy products that contain toxic materials or that can't be recycled or safely disposed of.
  • Purchase green sustainable products - look for high-quality items with high post-consumer content, less packaging, and made locally if possible.
  • Consider the end-of-life disposal option for the product - is the item recyclable? Safe for disposal? Does the product manufacturer or a retailer offer take back of their items?
  • For electronics, take a look at Greenpeace or Electronics Take Back Coalition's 'report card' on sustainable electronic product.

Other Things to Remember

  • Remember to bring your reusable bags to the store when you're shopping. Keep them in a visible location in your car so you don't forget.
  • After the holiday season, make sure you donate, sell or recycle outdated or unwanted items to get ready for the New Year.

On behalf of CAW staff, have a safe and happy holiday!