We have all heard the saying “less is more.” With very little effort this holiday season you can have a green Christmas and reduce your carbon footprint by implementing six simple tips. Now, that should make you very merry! Here you go.
Recycle, reuse, repurpose for a green Christmas
Ditch the plastic water bottles. The impact of plastic and particularly plastic water bottles on the environment is staggering. Did you know that approximately one million plastic bottles are used globally per minute? And, according to a recent Forbes online article published this July, 91% of all plastic is not recycled. So this holiday season ditch the water bottles and fill glass pitchers of water. Then make it truly festive by adding a variety of seasonal fresh fruits and spices for a unique flavor explosion. Go beyond lemons and limes and try blackberries, strawberries, pomegranates or cranberries. Use fresh mint, basil, ginger, or ginger to spice it up. The health benefits are enormous. And, the beautiful pitchers of brightly colored fruit and spices will add a decorative and elegant touch to your holiday table. For a few tips and recipes check out Allrecipes.com.
Go Green and grow fresh mint. In lieu of store-bought air fresheners use fresh mint for a clean, fresh, and natural scent. You can grow it indoors. Local area grocery stores sell mint plants all year round. The usual less than $3 price tag is worth it. Replant it in a pot with adequate drainage and a good potting mix. Set it on a window sill with indirect sunlight and watch it flourish. When decorating add freshly cut sprigs of green mint to glass vases to set on your holiday table and in your bathrooms.
Recycle your Christmas tree. The City of Leander Parks and Recreation Department is making it easy for you to recycle your tree this holiday season. Their free Live Christmas Tree Recycling program begins December 26 and runs through Jan. 17, 2018. Remove all your decorations and drop off your tree between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. at Robin Bledsoe Park, 601 S. Bagdad. The great news is that the trees are recycled into mulch and used in the city’s parks for trails and in landscape beds. For additional information and questions call the City of Leander Parks and Recreation Department at 512-528-9909.
Other ways to a green Christmas
Use LED lights to decorate. According to the U.S. Department of Energy using LEDs instead of fluorescent incandescent lights is a good idea. LEDs use up to 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer. That means LEDs are both efficient and durable. They are also safer to use on Christmas trees and wreaths because they are not hot when touched. The benefit of using LEDs is lower energy costs but it will vary based on the size of your holiday decorations and the number of hours you run the electricity. However, purchasing LEDs is expensive. The initial cost is more than fluorescents. For example, I compared the price of a 100-set of mini LEDs to a set of fluorescents with the same description. The LED set cost $9.98 whereas, the fluorescent set was $2.28. Over time the benefits such as lower energy bills and having to replace them less wins in the end.
Use brown paper to wrap gifts and create one-of-a-kind gift tags and cards. Brown paper is versatile, durable, and 100% recyclable. For $10 you can get at 14” X 10 ft. roll at most craft retail chain stores. Save money and paper by downloading the store’s app to your phone to receive a cost-reduction coupon on one item. Brown paper is a handy product to have around and can be used as a simple solution for holiday gift wrapping. Decorate the tops of your packages by using cutouts of last year’s cards. For that very special touch use decorative ribbons and yarns in pretty colors. Or, use artwork from your kid’s school project to decorate gifts to give to grandparents. Remember to look throughout your home for ribbons, paper, and other products to reuse in a new and creative way.
Greening your home space
Participate in the Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday. Lastly, this tip is a stray from the others. The only thing it has in common is the word holiday. But, I do feel it is worth a mention especially for new homeowners. For those that aren’t aware the state of Texas is offering an Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday on Memorial Day weekend May 26-29, 2018. During this time period Texas residents can purchase certain energy-efficient appliances tax free. Appliances that qualify under the program include air conditioners, refrigerators, ceiling fans, clothes washers, dishwashers, dehumidifiers, and programmable thermostats. Please note that there are products that do not qualify under the program. Please visit the Texas Comptroller website for complete details and information.