'Tis the Season for Sustainable Holidays
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We can’t wait for the celebrations, visits, gift giving, crafts, baking and cooking during the holiday season. To wrap up the year on a green note, we’re encouraging sustainable practices and activities during the month of December. Many of the activities during the month like shopping, decorations, and travel produce a lot of waste and emissions. Below we have collected our favorite tips to make our holiday season more environmentally friendly.
Do you have a special gift idea in mind for your loved ones or are you on the hunt for meaningful present ideas? We are here to make your holiday shopping more sustainable with a few changes and concepts. We recommend keeping re-usable bags with you before you head out shopping. Most plastic bags are not recyclable and take between 10-1000 years to break down and turn into micro plastics (which pollute the environment). Also, make sure to bring re-usable bags of different sizes to fit all the presents and food you are planning to receive for your holiday festivities. Having a hard time coming up with gift ideas? Buying gifts second-hand, locally is the most sustainable purchase you can make during the holiday season. And, you are saving on emissions when new items are produced. You can find clothes (even your ugly Christmas sweater), accessories, toys, decorations, and much more at thrift stores and consignment shops. Second-hand items can make unique and meaningful presents for your family and friends while keeping your carbon footprint lower and saving money.
Wrapping them up
So, you are done with your holiday shopping. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to wrap up your presents. Did you know that most gift wrapping paper is not recyclable? Most wrapping paper has an inseparable plastic film to the paper, making the material unrecyclable. But, don’t worry - there are many ways to package your gifts. If you prefer to wrap your items, you can use recycled brown wrapping paper instead. To make the presents look extra festive, you can add holiday ink stamps, reusable ribbons, strings, or dried flowers and plants for embellishments. You can use empty boxes as sturdier protection for your gifts. If you are celebrating the holidays at home, you can use fabric or towels as a cover, gift, or as a re-usable item. With careful storage, you can always re-use gift bags, tissue paper, bows, and ribbons to package and decorate your items. Starting this holiday season, you can begin collecting gift bags for future celebrations.
Decorations can set the mood for the cozy month of December. There are so many ideas for DIYs and crafts to bring the holiday spirit to your home with a sustainable twist! From paper snowflakes out of recycled or old material, to DIY Christmas wreaths, table runners, and Christmas cards, this article has a variety of beautiful holiday crafts for the family using sustainable materials and practices. Make sure to avoid glitter in your creative crafts as most are made from microplastics, which can contaminate our water supply. A study found that even glitter labeled as “biodegradable” has shown to cause a negative effect on the ecosystem’s food webs and freshwater body contamination. Instead, opt for natural elements such as pinecones, acorns, holly, mistletoe, and leaves in your holiday decorations and crafts.
Green Holiday Lighting
Holiday and Christmas lights brighten up the cold and darker days of winter. Whether you hang lights on your tree, roof, stairs, or cars, holiday lights increase your electricity bill and add to carbon dioxide emissions from electricity consumption. LED holiday lights last longer, are more efficient, and brighter than incandescent lights. For additional energy savings, consider using solar-powered lighting for your outdoor lighting decorations. It is recommended to turn off all lights to save energy and reduce emissions if you plan to leave a room for more than 15 minutes.
Home for the Holidays
The best way you can protect the planet during the month of December is to celebrate locally. The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that a 3,000-mile round-trip by airplane produces one ton of carbon dioxide per passenger. If you are planning to travel, try using public transportation instead to reach your destination by reducing your travel distance by car or by a short airplane trip.
You can always enjoy the cozy holiday season from home. As an alternative to traveling, you can visit local holiday markets and shows and take part in activities such as walking around the neighborhood to view beautiful displays of holiday lights.
The month of December is a time of joy and reflection. As the year 2022 comes to an end, we can create sustainable holiday traditions with our friends and family by encouraging one another to take care of our planet. From reduced travel emissions to producing less waste, we can make a significant impact to decrease our emissions while keeping our air and environment clean.
Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday season from the Air North Texas team!