Friday, November 13, 2009

Ten Ways to Add More (and Spend Less) Green this Holiday Season

With all the talk about "being green" and "saving green" during the continuing economic downturn (the recession may be over, but no one's told that to my savings account!), I thought it would be useful to compile and provide the following "Top Ten" list of How to Add More (and Spend Less) Green this Holiday Season.

1) Rethink sending holiday cards. Send an e-card or a poscard. If you insist on sending a traditional holiday card, buy a bulk package of cards made of recycled paper with earth friendly dyes.

2) Green your lights. For those of you who have a Christmas tree in your house, switch from standard tree lights to LED tree lights. Program a light timer to minimize energy usage.

3) Bring nature indoors. Choose and display ornaments and decorations made from natural objects or recycled materials, like reclaimed metal, natural wool, recycled wood, hemp or other materials.

4) Balance your carbon footprint. While I certainly don't suggest these as a stocking stuffer, you can easily buy carbon offsets for your holiday travel. Check out, the largest seller of carbon offsets.

5) Wrap with care and conservation in mind. Buy holiday paper made from recycled paper and earth friendly dyes. Don't overwrap. Here's a suggestion: Use those old newspapers for wrapping and then recycle them.

6) Think "slow food": Eat local!. Find a farmer or local market. Anything produced and bought locally comes to your home with reduced emissions from unnecessary travel time.

7) Recycle your Christmas tree. Have Christmas year-round! As soon as the holidays end, take your tree to a chipper and turn it into pine mulch that you can use in your garden next year.

8) Trade-in your old electronics. Don't buy anything new unless you can recycle the old.

9) Give a gift, get a gift. Very important for the kids: Have your children recycle their gently worn toys. Remember those in need: "With all they getting, get compassion."

10) Carry a holiday shopping bag. Pass on those glossy shopping bags and, in the spirit of the season, use something plain, understated and reusable.