Considering the holidays’ impact on our environment seemed like a good, mindful place to start. What are some ways to make the holiday season leaner and greener? How can we deck the halls with less waste? Give gifts with fewer boxes and bows? Clean our plates without cluttering up landfills? Trim the tree while taking care of the planet?
We asked Katie Cullipher, team leader with AskHRGreen.org—a region-wide public service initiative with a stated focus to “educate, engage and motivate citizens to make good environmental choices” and celebrating its celebrating its 10th anniversary this year—for a few tips on going greener this holiday season.
Check out Cullipher’s simple tips starting below and visit AskHRGreen.org for more ideas.
Giving and Receiving Gifts
Shape Up the Shipping
If you’re shopping online, consolidate your items into as few shipments as possible. Then, reuse those boxes you receive in the mail if you can. If not, make sure to break down and recycle the boxes.
Wrap It Up Creatively
Use what you have on hand for wrapping presents. Fabric, maps, holiday tea towels, your child’s artwork and gently used scarves are creative and bright alternatives to wrapping paper. Instead of a disposable bow, use a natural element for the finishing touch like a sprig of holly or rosemary from your garden.
Cooking and Entertaining
Go for the Good China
Choose reusable dinner settings instead of disposable plates, cups and cutlery. China plates, reusable cutlery and cloth napkins add sophistication to your holidays while cutting back on waste.
Beware the Grease Grinch
When cleaning up, remember that food scraps go in the trash or compost bin and avoid dumping any leftovers, fatty foods, oily and greasy residue down the drain or garbage disposal. You don’t want a visit from the plumber because of the “Grease Grinch” clogged your pipes this holiday season.
Decorating Your Home
Plant Yourself a Gift
For the price of a naturally grown Christmas tree, you could invest in plants to enjoy year-round. Studies have shown that plants boost energy, mood, productivity, concentration and improve the quality of indoor air.
Don’t Forget to Tree-cycle
If you do use a naturally grown Christmas tree, place it in a quiet corner of your yard after the holidays; the birds will love it. Or, recycle it into mulch. Check back with askHRgreen.org just after the holidays for a list of Christmas tree recycling guidelines for each regional locality.