Green Tip of the Month: Holiday Conservation
Cards, gift wrap and gifts
Consider giving tickets to events, admission to cultural institutions or electronic gift cards. Choose cards and gift wrap made from recycled paper and printed with natural inks, or make your own wrapping paper by decorating old newspapers or paper bags. For online shopping, try to order items from a single store so that your gifts are shipped together, minimizing the energy costs of packaging and shipping. Or shop on campus: the Rockefeller T-shirt Shop has a several items without unnecessary packaging.
Opt for blinking lights, which use about half as much energy as the continuous kind, and enjoy a live tree rather than an artificial one, which is usually made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a soft plastic that is not recyclable or biodegradable. Plus, a live tree purchase encourages farmers to continue planting acres that absorb carbon dioxide from the air. At the end of the season, NYC’s tree recycling program will break down the wood for use as compost or landscaping materials, and residents who bring a bag can take home their own mulch (see nyc.gov/dsny for more information).
Trains and buses have a smaller carbon footprint than airplanes and private vehicles. Trains can carry 200 car-loads of people, while a full bus can translate to 55 fewer single passenger cars on the road. If you have to fly, try to fly direct, and if you’re driving, check your tire pressure and drive at the speed limit to cut fuel consumption.
Did You Know?
The amount of household garbage in the United States can increase by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, from 4 million tons to 5 million tons.