Decorating the interior of our homes creates almost as much waste each year as the gift wrapping and bows. Luckily, reducing your environmental footprint over the holidays is very easy, and can be cost-efficient too.
There are two main directions to take when trying to green up your holiday decorating. You can either make your decorations, or buy eco-friendly ones at the store. Or some combination thereof.
If you choose to make your holiday decorations, use recyclable and repurposed items as much as possible to maximize eco-friendliness. GreenYour.com suggests, if your household has a tree, making ornaments for it out of old holiday bulbs or natural products like pine cones or dried herbs. You can also use edible elements, like gingerbread men or popcorn balls, to decorate.
If you choose to try and buy more eco-friendly decorations, look for ones made out of natural materials. Cotton, bamboo, and hemp are all renewable and therefore eco-friendly, as is natural rubber or silk. Also try and purchase decorations that contained recycled materials, because that means they can most likely be recycled again after you’re done with them.
Holiday lights are a little trickier. LED lights reduce the overall energy used to run them, which makes them more eco-friendly. In past years I’ve used a timer to shut the lights down after a certain amount of time, or at a certain hour. If you’re good at remembering that sort of thing on your own, turn your lights on only when there are people in the room to enjoy them, and then turn them off again. Although more expensive, some companies do now make lights that have a solar panel function which you can purchase if you would like to try them.
Trees are a matter of some debate. If your family would like a holiday tree, there are pros and cons to going either live or artificial. Christmas Lights and Decorations makes the point that artificial trees cause an enormous amount of pollution to make, which basically means you strike even from an environmental standpoint by using it for a few years in a row. Tree farms are trying to be eco-friendly by replanting, so a live tree is less impactful than it used to be. Many areas also allow for reuse or recycling of trees as well.
Eco-friendly holidays are getting easier, and cheaper, than ever before. Your family can add to the magic of the holidays by getting together to use your collective ingenuity to make fun and eco-friendly decorations for the entire house. Making this year’s holiday season a green one can also make it one of the best opportunities for family togetherness ever, which is what the holidays are all about.
GreenYour.com, “Use eco-friendly Christmas Decorations.”
ChristmasLightsandDecorations.com, “Environmentally Friendly Christmas.”