He sees you filling landfills,
He sees you cutting trees,
He sees you buying too much junk
So won’t you save the planet, please?
Americans’ waste increases about 25 percent during the holiday season.
According to researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina, that’s an extra five billion pounds added to landfills.
All the extra holiday travel, too, creates tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
But little improvements can have a big impact, says Green America, which harnesses consumers’ buying power to make a more sustainable world. The nonprofit offers ten ways to green your holidays.
1.Don’t Buy Wrapping Paper
Reuse old wrapping paper or put your gifts in reusable bags or boxes. Be creative about giving old materials new life – fabric scraps, magazines, old calendars, etc.
2. Send Tree-free Holiday Cards
Search the National Green Pages™ for cards made from hemp, and other tree-free resources. Or, send e-cards.
3. Hold a Zero Waste Holiday Party
Ask people to bring their own cups, plates and utensils if you don’t have enough of your own. Use fabric tablecloths and napkins. Recycle any post-party cans and bottles and compost food scraps.
4. Consider the Lifecycle of Electronic Gifts
The manufacture and disposal of computers, tablets, e-readers, video games, and music devices pose environmental and health hazards. Check out the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. The Recycled Video Games Network is a great resource to dispose of old equipment or buy recycled games and systems for less, reducing the amount of new materials made.
5. Give Gifts from the Heart
Instead of spending money on commercial goods, offer to make dinner, walk the dog, help with gardening or home repairs, or invite friends over for Fair Trade coffee and tea.
6. Give the Gift of a Better World
Make a donation to a cause in honor of a loved one. Choose a group that addresses an issue that you and your friends and family members care about and support.
7. Green Your Holiday Travel. Better World Travel Club can help you offset the carbon emissions from your travel through their Travel Cool program.
8. Buy Green Gifts
If you choose to give presents over the holidays, shop with green businesses listed in the National Green Pages.
9. Avoid Toys Made with PVC plastic
Toxic PVC is found in everyday plastics, including some children’s toys. Vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a known human carcinogen. PVC is also the least recycled plastic.
10. Recycle Packaging From Gifts
To reduce environmental impacts, it is important to recycle all cardboard packaging and peanuts or other Styrofoam packing that comes with gifts or purchases as these items will not break down in a landfill but can be used over and over again for packaging and shipping. The National Green Pages contains several listings for easy drop-off centers for both types of waste.