Wait! You might be thinking, don’t we mean “white” Christmas? Well, no, actually we thought Mother Earth should be on the Christmas list this year…
The holiday season can be quite extravagant, with lights and decorations and pretty wrapped packages all tied up with bows! We know pushing an “eco friendly” Christmas might make you cringe with thoughts of a burlap Christmas tree skirt, but we swear, you can put a ruffle on anything and make it look so cute, just like this recycled version made from a grain sack!
But, seriously, with just a few innovative ideas you can make changes that will have a positive impact on the environment, all the while keeping it festive!
First, the tree! It’s environmentally favorable to buy a real tree every year right? The American Christmas Tree Association (fyi – they represent artificial tree manufacturers) would disagree with you. They released a study in 2015 that studied the impact of real and artificial Christmas trees and found that artificial trees had a more favorable impact on the environment when reused for a minimum of five years.
Even though each acre on a tree farm can provide the daily oxygen required by 18 people and artificial trees will last six years in your home but for centuries in a landfill, the report concluded that when it came to the manufacturing and overseas transportation the artificial tree was less harmful to the environment than planting, fertilizing, watering, shipping, landfilling and/or incinerating live trees.
The argument for a live or fake tree will continue for ages but there are earth friendly choices for each that we can make right regardless of the type of tree you prefer.
- For live trees, try one that can be planted when the season is done rather than discarding one. (Remember the oxygen thing?)
- Grow your own! Keep in mind it takes about 6-7 years to grow a tree to full height, and by then it may be hard to cut it down. But this is definitely an earth friendly alternative!
- Buy local to reduce auto miles.
- According to eartheasy.com, 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in the U.S. and 30 million go into the landfill. This Christmas make a commitment to yourself and the earth to recycle your tree at your local municipality.
- For fake trees, purchase one that uses recycled materials.
- Most fake trees cannot be recycled but they can be donated to a second hand store so that they can be resold.
What about lighting and decorations? Well, LED lighting is now the preferred way to conserve energy when lighting the tree. So try to find ligornaments, like the tree topper, that use LED lights, too. Ornaments that use recycled materials make great additions to your tree and often support local artists. We love this amazing 20 point star made out of a recycled vintage book for our tree topper. And, we nearly fainted when we found these recycled glass tree ornaments – so magical! Of course if you want something that can be used after the tree is gone, how about some birdseed ornaments that will be happily enjoyed by feathered friends outside your window!
And, under the tree? Just read these staggering statistics from Stanford University:
- If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.
- If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
That pretty wrapping paper with the foil swirls might look good upon presentation but you will not be able to toss it into the recycle bin after it’s been torn off your gift. In fact, most wrapping paper is not recyclable. Instead you could be creative with your wrapping like using fabric bags or wrapping items in tea towels or cloth napkins. Pinterest has loads of ideas. Still stuck on wrapping paper? Go to Wrapperly and “wrap, rip, recycle” all you want.
While we were blown away by Stanford’s statistics about holiday ribbon and wrapping we were equally blown away by this fact:
The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high! If we each sent one fewer card, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.
Now we don’t want you to kick your Aunt Alice off of the Christmas card list just to save some paper, so we have a better idea! How about a holiday card made from seed paper from bloomin.com! Yup, that’s right… instead of tossing it into the trash after the holidays your Aunt can re-use her coffee can, add a little soil and some water, and grow some flowers or a blue spruce! They have gift tags available and even make fun holiday gifts like these “snowballs”.
So, here’s wishing you a greener Christmas!
Do you go out every year in the cold to pick out a fresh tree or do you pull yours out of the attic? Let us know in the comment section!