Tuesday, December 21, 2010

7 Easy Tips for being a little more green this holiday!

Are you looking for ways to be a little greener this holiday season? Here are 7 easy tips to help you be more eco-friendly this year.

1.    Wrap your presents in reused wrapping paper (save your paper from this year for next years use), shopping bags, old magazines, newspaper, maps, and fabric. If every family wrapped just three gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. Reuse cardboard boxes and packing peanuts. Buy recycled or tree-free cards made from materials like hemp - or send e-cards!

Here is a great video on different ways to wrap gifts with newspaper:

2.    Regifting is not a crime! We all have had thoughtful friends who give us items that we either already own or do not need but we may know of someone else who would enjoy these items and if not there are many charities in need of these items. Also pass along family heirlooms. These items are more personal and can invoke great memories. Hand-made presents can also be very nice and more personal.

3.    Use sustainable candles made of soy or other natural materials like beeswax. Regular candles are often made of paraffin, a by-product of petroleum, which emits toxins when burned. You can cut down on oil usage and make your home healthier at the same time.

4.    Buy LED holiday lights, which use 90 percent less energy and can save you up to $50 on your energy bills. Who wouldn’t want to be more green and save money at the same time?

5.    Buy local and organic food to add to your holiday meal from Farmers Markets in your town. You are supporting local farmers who grow sustainable meat and produce plus you are getting the freshest healthiest food available to you and your family.

6.    Recycle your Christmas tree. Most cities have a Christmas tree recycle program. Visit your community website to find out the details or call (800) CLEANUP or visit www.earth911.org to find the tree-recycling program near you.

7.    Recycle your old cell phone. Getting a new cell phone for Christmas? You can drop off that old phone at any Staples store, as part of the Sierra Club cell phone recycling program. Each year, 130 million cell phones are thrown out, weighing approximately 65,000 tons. Recycling your old phone prevents hazardous elements like mercury, cadmium and lead from ending up in our landfills. There are also a lot of charities that will accept your old phone. Like battered women shelters or donate your cell phone to the troops. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers a nationwide mailing service for donated cell phones; they will even provide a shipping label for a box or padded envelope so you won't have to pay for postage. In addition, the NCADV offers a tax-deduction receipt. You can help the charity even more by applying your own postage. If you pay for the postage, they can put more money toward calling cards for the troops! Donated cell phones are sold to a company that recycles them. The money they receive from recycling cell phones is used to purchase calling cards that are sent to troops in need. Minimize weight and save on postage by mailing cell phones only. Batteries, chargers and accessories are not required but gladly accepted.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!!

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