The holidays are a very hard time of year for the environment. Between the lights, travel, wrapping, presents and food, more than one million tons of additional waste is created each week between Thanksgiving and New Year's.
So bad right! But the Holidays are one of the best times of year and I believe the trick to living sustainably isn’t to go without things, it’s to swap them for something more sustainable!
So LPR has compiled its top 5 tips for a more sustainable holiday season to help limit our carbon footprint without limiting our holiday spirit!
Top 5 Tips below:
1. Opt for Potted/Living Christmas Trees & Plants instead of Cut or Artificial Ones
Tree farming can be agriculturally intensive (and we generally only keep the tree for a month, tops!). And while a plastic tree can be reused, it will ultimately end up in a hole in the ground too.
My family growing up had a lovely tradition of buying a potted Christmas tree every year and then planting it in the backyard where we would chop it down once it grew tall enough years later.
If planting a tree after the holidays isn't an option for you, many companies offer the ability to rent potted Christmas trees.
Added bonus, live plants are great for air purification and mood boosting!
2. Shop Locally or from Brands that Prioritize Sustainability
The old saying goes, "we vote with our wallet", so it says a lot when you choose to buy your gifts from brands and companies who prioritize sustainability or produce goods locally in your community.
Shopping locally helps limit the heavy carbon emissions from transportation of goods across the country and world as well as uses less packaging from shipping individual items to people's homes.
3. Use Earth-Friendly Decorations
Rather than spend money every year on new plastic ornaments, that generally end up in landfill, why not use alternative materials? Paper is a versatile, affordable and sustainable crafting material, as is fabric, wood, wool and string.
For our tree this year we made garlands out of string, popcorn, dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks all of which can be composted or fed to birds and other animals.
Check out our Instagram @littlepipesranch for a guide to making our popcorn & orange cinnamon garlands.
4. Switch to Energy-Efficient LED Lights with Smart Timer to Conserve Power Consumption
LED holiday lights consume 80 percent less energy than incandescent lights and tend to last 25 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Additionally, light timers combined with a smart plug save you from wasting energy by leaving your lights on or sucking vampire power while they are turned off.
5. Limit Waste from Wrapping and Packaging by Reducing, Reusing or Repurposing Items
Unfortunately, most wrapping and packaging ends up in landfills at the end of the Holidays. We can help limit this waste by reducing, reusing or re-purposing items we already have at our house.
Save cute ribbons, tissue paper, gift bags & boxes to reuse for next year or birthday presents.
Use old scarves, fabric or old newspapers to wrap presents under the tree.
Additionally, try gifting experiences (perhaps a trip to Joshua Tree ;) instead of material items that will be more than likely end up in landfill one day.
Hopefully, you find these tips helpful and together we can make this holiday season a little lighter on the planet!