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Get Involved!: December 2021


Giving Back & Going Green For The Holiday Season

Monday, December 6, 2021  by qrelihan

   The Holiday Season is upon us once again and this year more of us can visit with family & friends that we couldn’t gather with due to the pandemic last year.  Therefore, more presents, wrapping paper, bows, cardboard boxes, Christmas trees, food and drinks are being purchased than last year.  As they should most individuals focus on the decorating, gift-giving, and spending times with loved ones during this time of year, and the environment falls to the bottom of their list of concerns.  I too am guilty of putting the well-being of the environment on the back burner during this time of year as I love the activities that go along with the holiday season as well.  In fact, I even understand the desire to continue holiday traditions the way that they are and not make adjustments to celebrate ‘greener’ holidays. Therefore, I have compiled a list of things that you can do to make your holiday season slightly more eco-friendly.  However, it is important to note that the holiday season is a very small percentage of the year, and you should focus on efforts that make a larger impact that extends beyond a few months out of the year.

Facts & Statistics about the Holiday Season and its impact on the environment:

  • In the US wrapping paper and gift bags make up about 4 million tons of waste
  • The US throws away 25% more waste from November -January
  • In the month of December, Americans throw away about 270,000 tons of food waste
  • 35-40 million Christmas trees are cut down each year

Ways to celebrate ‘greener’ holidays:

  • Reduce your energy use by using LED holiday lights and bulbs
  • Put holiday lights & decorations on a timer so that they are not on all night or during the day
  • Recycle wrapping paper rather than throwing it in the trash
  • Can only be recycled if it is not shiny or covered in glitter
  • Save gift boxes and bags for reuse next yearWhen online shopping opt for ground shipping whenever you can – as ground shipping options use less fuel than air shipping
  • Look for holiday tree composting drop-off locations in your community
  • Reduce paper waste when hosting holiday gatherings by using reusable glassware and utensils
  • Send e-cards to family & friends instead of paper card 

Ways to be ‘greener’ that goes beyond the holiday season:

  • Use public transportation & carpool whenever possible
  • Turn off lights when you are no longer in a room
  • Unplug devices when they are done charging or no longer being used
  • Shop local
  • Maintain the HVAC systems in your house, to be sure they are running efficiently
  • Take shorter showers
  • Separate your trash and recycling
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to work
  • Avoid paper and plastic plates & utensils whenever possible

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