The perfect way for you to get tips for an eco-friendly Christmas would be from the video in the citation. Check out Melissa McGinnis’s report!
How To Make Your Christmas Truly Green
Green your tree
Christmas trees are local and grown every year. As they grow they improve air quality, create natural habitat, and provide jobs. Plus, they keep those areas where trees are grown from becoming infrastructure and developments, which is a big step up for the environment! Christmas trees can take anywhere from 4 to 15 years to reach harvesting size, but on average they are chopped at age 7. For every tree harvested, several seedlings are planted to keep the industry growing. They are renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable. Plastic trees are made in factories which use fossil fuels and emit green house gases. Then they are shipped across the world from China. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, 80% of the world’s supply of plastic trees come from China.
When it comes time to dispose of the tree, check your listings for recycling plants that will accept them. There are 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs across the U.S., and there may be one close to you. An easy way to find out is to check http://www.earth911.com and type in “Christmas trees” and your location. The site will return a list of places with the address and phone number.
Green your lighting
Christmas lights may seem like a festive edition, but there are many alternatives to using lights. If you feel a strong desire to use Christmas lights this year, you can use energy efficient Christmas lights on your tree to conserve electricity. LED lighting conserves 80% of the electricity regular lights use. Even so, you may not need lights at all once your tree is covered with ornaments.
There are also plenty of ways to decorate your home and look festive without using Christmas lights. Using tree scraps from your yard to make a wreath or decorate the mantle is one option. Or, if you are willing to get crafty, you can make your own wreath out of old plastic bags! It will be a white wreath, of course, but it can really look good while saving the planet.
Stringing up popcorn around the tree is also a fun and easy activity that creates a similar aesthetic to Christmas lighting. Simply cook the popcorn (preferably organic) and use a needle and thread to string them. Cranberries can become Christmas decorations in the same manner and add Christmas colors to the tree. However, do not let anyone in the house eat the cranberries as they are not edible. When Christmas has passed, throw those decorations into your yard waste or compost bin for recycling.
Green your decorations
Ornaments can also be homemade. Tin can angels look great on top of the tree while using old cans. Pine cones and cinnamon sticks also make great biodegradable decorations. Simply tie a small ribbon around the cinnamon sticks and use it to hang them on the tree. Then, after Christmas you can keep those ribbons and reuse them the following year. Cookies can also hang on the tree. If made in shapes, they are often able slide onto the branches with no need for wires or strings. If you have a compost bin, color paper chains will add color and volume to the decorating. Then they can either be composted or kept in a box to be used again in the future.
If you already own Christmas ornaments, the most eco-friendly option is to keep using them. If you do not, and none of the cafty ideas appeal to you, there are websites which sell ornaments made from recycled CDs, wires, circuit boards and metal scraps.
Green your gifts
Gift giving can be a wonderful way to show affection, but it can also create mounds of needless waste. Homemade presents can remove the waste and show how much you care! Making presents is not for everyone, but luckily there are many ways to give green.
Presentation can also create a huge mess and leave a wasteful pile of garbage after gifts are unwrapped. For starters, collect sprigs, leaves, berries, or flowers from outside to use instead of a plastic bow. Next, wrap the gifts with completely recycled paper made with soy-based ink rather than toxic or chemical inks. Another option is biodegradable seed gift wrap which can be planted outside when it’s done encasing your presents. Banana fiber paper, which is made from the excess bark of harvested banana trees, can also be used. To tie it all together, wool, yarn, or natural twine which can either be recycled or reused are all viable options.
There is a company here in Portland, OR that will rent you a potted Christmas tree! They deliver it right to your door and after Christmas they pick it up and replant it! There are of course restrictions on what you can use to decorate the tree, but its a great option! Check out the link below.
Throw parties that are eco-friendly. Some ways to do this would be to serve vegetarian/vegan fare, use only fresh/local/organic ingredients, and avoid using plastic-ware.
When you’re shopping, carpool with a friend or a bunch of friends or take public transportation (when this is feasible). Try to combine shopping with other errands you need to do to cut down gas.
When you’re looking for a place to go for Christmas, think close to home.
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