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The Facts About Holiday Excess and How to Enjoy a Greener Christmas

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  by Kimberly Blackford

red Christmas ornament in tree

Living Green” and celebrating the holidays hardly seem to go together! How can one reduce their ecological footprint when there is so much indulgence all around us this time of the year? Before you think it can’t possibly be that bad, take a look at some facts below about holiday wastefulness.

- From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, a household’s consumption increases by 25%. This includes    food waste, shopping bags, packaging and wrapping paper. It all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week in landfills.

- The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the United States can fill a football field ten stories high. To produce those Christmas cards requires 300,000 trees to be harvested.

- If every family reduced their driving by only one gallon over the holidays, then greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by one million tons.

- If every family reused two feet of holiday ribbon each year, then the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.

- Every year 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in the U.S. Thirty million of those end up in a landfill. Instead, compost, mulch or recycle your tree after use.

- 40% of battery sales occur during the holiday season.

- Nearly 3,000 tons of aluminum foil will be used to wrap turkeys, which is enough to make 52 aluminum foil paths for Santa to follow to the North Pole and back.

 

Now that you know how much waste really occurs this time of the year, here are some tips for greening up your holiday season using the three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle as a guide.

Christmas lights

 

What To Reduce

Energy consumption – use LED lights.

Unused decorations and clutter – Donate any unused decorations to charities and other organizations.

Packaging and wrapping paper – reuse wrapping paper and ribbon. And, wrap gifts in newspaper and old maps.

Non-recyclable Materials – Shy away from buying anything that can’t be recycled.

Petroleum based products – Drive less and shop online.

 

 

What To Reuse

Old lights if they are energy efficient. If not, then as they stop working replace with LED lights.

Old wrapping paper

Cutlery and china for your family’s holiday dinner

Scraps from sewing or hobbies to make homemade gifts

Christmas presents

What To Recycle

Compost everything possible including your Christmas tree and table scraps

Old Christmas cards and gift-wrap

All non-biodegradable items

 

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