Green Tip of the Month: Holiday Conservation
Cards, gift wrap and gifts
Buy cards and gift wrap made from recycled paper and printed with natural inks. Choose cards and envelopes printed on plain paper stock, which require fewer resources in their manufacturing processes than those with metallic or plastic coatings. Consider sending postcards to avoid using envelopes and wrap gifts using old newspapers or paper bags that you decorate yourself. Give gifts without excess packaging, or try exchanging package-free gifts, like electronic gift certificates or tickets to events. The Rockefeller T-shirt Shop has a several items without unnecessary packaging, and Rockefeller reusable shopping bags are available at the CRC Café.
Lighting and trees
Be mindful of energy usage with holiday lights: turn them on only when someone is around to appreciate them or control usage with an automatic timer. Or, opt for blinking lights, which use about half as much energy as continuous lights. Buy a live tree instead of an artificial one, which is usually made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a soft plastic that is not recyclable or biodegradable. Better yet, buy a tree or plant that can be planted outside or kept as a houseplant after the holidays. Or, find a tree recycling program, where the wood is broken down for use as compost or landscaping materials.
Airplanes and private vehicles leave a hefty carbon footprint. If possible, choose trains or buses as alternative modes of transportation for your holiday travel. Trains can carry 200 car-loads of people, while a full bus can translate to 55 fewer single passenger cars on the road.
Did You Know?
Each holiday season in the U.S., disposable wrapping paper accounts for two million tons of waste.