WAYS TO HAVE A GREEN CHRISTMAS
1. Trade in those incandescent lights for LEDs, which use a fraction of the energy.
2. Look for recycled content in wrapping paper. This can be difficult to find and may actually require online ordering, but expressing demand will help drive its availability.
3. Recycle your own wrapping paper, boxes and plastic packaging.
4. Scale back the elaborate outdoor displays. You can be festive without being Times Square.
5. If you do use outdoor light displays, use a timer so the lights are on display only at times when there is an audience.
6. Give your cookies away on a real plate or recyclable plate. Likewise, if you're hosting a party, either bite the bullet and actually do all those dishes or use recyclable ones.
7. Take the time in your holiday party aftermath to sort through all the cans and bottles that can be recycled.
8. Make good use of your green bin and/or compost bin this holiday season. Uneaten food from holiday dinners and parties can go in there, as can scraps from meal preparation, soiled napkins and paper food packaging, coffee grounds and tea bags, paper plates and your great aunt's famous fruitcake.
9. Consider asking those with whom you exchange gifts to make a charitable donation in your name. There is no packaging involved. Consider food banks and shelters or organizations that purchase animals or supplies for families in developing countries. For a truly green Christmas, your contribution could go toward environmental conservation.
10. When gift giving, try an experience present, such as tickets to a show or a night at a hotel. It's something personal that isn't loaded up with all that packaging.
11. Buy sustainable. Many stores offer fair-trade products.
12. Real trees are great, but consider artificial. If buying a real tree, look for trees that are grown locally. Many are shipped from a great distance consuming fuel to bring them to local Christmas tree lots.
13. Take reusable bags with you when you go Christmas shopping. Don't let all that extra shopping generate extra plastic.
14. Save your money, save the environment and spare yourself from long hours of looking for the proper gift items at the mall. Start a trend: show you care with some thoughtful homemade gifts. Local, organic, nutritious food items fresh out of your kitchen can work very well.
15. When practicing your out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new New Year routine, don't just throw out old toys, clothes, shoes and household items. All these items can be donated to organizations that support people less fortunate.