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Give the Gift of Air Quality

The air is getting cold and crisp while people are bustling here and there to get their homes ready for family. It’s officially the holiday season filled with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and many more festivities! But before you start your car to get those presents, consider how you can reduce your carbon footprint this year. Not sure how? Here are some tips to help you have a sustainable holiday this season:

Utilize natural decorations. Consider using a real tree this year instead of an artificial one. An artificial tree uses more resources to manufacture compared to a real tree. After the holidays are over, find resources around your town to help dispose of your tree the ecofriendly way. Not sure where to go? Click here to find several tree disposal options. Also, recycle your holiday decorations to minimize landfill waste. Keep in mind items that are not recyclable such as metallic and cellophane gift wrap, plastic bags, light bulbs, and fluorescent tubes. Make sure all decorations are removed from the tree before recycling. Is your tree still alive and well? Consider planting your tree outside or keeping it as a houseplant! Click here for more ways to reuse your tree even after the holidays!

Unplug for air quality. Try to become more energy efficient this year by considering setting up a timer for your holiday lights inside and outside of your home. Using a timer will conserve electricity and lower your energy costs - saving you money. Another way to conserve energy is to decorate your tree with LED strings! LED light bulbs are up to 80% more efficient than fluorescent and incandescent lights. Less energy usage reduces the amount of demand for power and decreases greenhouse gas emissions which can help improve air quality.

Have a sustainable dinner. When prepping for the big holiday dinner with family and friends, consider visiting your local farmers market to buy your groceries. Shopping locally can reduce fuel emissions from trucks that are used to transport food to grocery stores. During your dinner, serve food with reusable utensils, plates and glasses rather than single-use plastics.

Travel smart. Plan your trips ahead of time to avoid traffic and save time from being on the road while traveling to see friends and family. Consider carpooling or traveling during weekdays when the roads are less congested. Also, consider running your errands in one trip, rather than multiple ones, to reduce the amount of fuel emissions being released into the atmosphere.

Gift sustainably. If you’re shopping online, plan and buy your gifts beforehand to avoid expedited shipping. Airplanes currently account for nearly 11% of CO2 emissions in the U.S. Other ways of gifting sustainably are to make something from scratch such as homemade cookies, hand warmers, homemade soup or cocoa mixes to give to your friends and family! According to the Center for Disease Control, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the holidays. So, this year, instead of using wrapping paper from the store, wrap your gifts with outdated newspapers and magazines, or old paper bags that you don’t use anymore! Can’t think of a gift to give? Gift an experience instead! Look at community websites to see if there are events nearby that you can take your friends or family to as a holiday gift.

With these tips, you will be able to have a sustainable holiday while contributing to the movement of improving air quality and the environment. Happy Holidays!

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