Here in Indianapolis, it seems impossible to picture a White Christmas right now. It is 60 degrees and rainy out there! A green Christmas, however, is still very attainable. According to the EPA, the average US family generates 25% more waste (totaling 1 million tons a week) between Thanksgiving and New Years day. All of the extra food, wrapping paper, bows, and Christmas trees really takes a toll on our landfills. There are some simple things we can all do to keep Christmas green this year.
Instead of buying rolls and rolls of flashy gift wrapping paper, try recycling some old newspaper instead. You can even wrap each gift specifically for the recipient. For example, if you have an uncle that is always joking and loves to laugh, try saving the funnies for a couple of weeks until you have enough to wrap his gift. Not only will he appreciate the gift, but he will get a kick out of the funny wrapping paper too.
Everyone knows that shopping has become as much a part of the Christmas season as anything else. One way to reduce your impact this season is to bring your own bags with you to the store. Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, and a good portion of those come from the holiday shopping season. Try using a reusable bag this year to cut down on the wasted plastic that ends up in our landfills. Besides…you can probably fit way more gifts in a reusable tote than any plastic shopping bag.
Greeting cards are often hilarious or sentimental, and you may think that Hallmark says it best. However, it takes an awful lot of fresh-cut trees, fuel, and other costly resources to produce those cards. This season, try making your own cards from some materials you already have (like construction paper, glue, and photos). It can be a family event where you sit down to watch your favorite movie and work on the project together. We may not all be able to come up with catchy cards, but at least it will be green—and from the heart!
These are just a few ideas that can help to make Christmas green this year. We would love to hear your ideas and thoughts about this too.