By Wendy Gabriel
Here are some tips I hope will help:
Reduce your energy consumption by replacing your incandescent Christmas light strings with LED (light emitting diodes) light strings. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) LEDs are exceptionally energy efficient when producing individual colors, many using up to 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light. For example, the amount of electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs — enough to light two 24-foot (7.3-meter) strings.
Reduce the paper and plastic bags used during this time of year by bringing your own bags as you shop for gifts or groceries.
Reuse your wrapping paper. The Games & Toys editor at eHow.com has some wonderful ideas for reusing your wrapping paper:
- Use small scraps of wrapping paper to line greeting card envelopes. Simply trace the outside flap shape onto the wrapping paper and cut out, leaving the wrapping paper lining just short enough to clear the glue seal on the envelope flap.
- Use large pieces of wrapping paper to cover a shoe box and create a storage container.
- Use in paper mache projects.
- Cover small gift boxes and place a little note inside to make someone’s day.
- Shred leftover wrapping paper for package filler for another gift.
- Create book covers.
- Press used wrapping paper flat with an iron on low heat and use for background on scrap booking pages.
- Use as a mat for framed objects.
- Cut paper doll clothes from wrapping paper scraps.
Another way to reduce your wrapping paper waste is to make cloth gift bags and reuse them each year instead of buying paper wrapping. My Nana started doing this when I was a child, sending all of our gifts in gift bags. We saved them each year and then used them for gifts the following Christmas. She also wrapped all of the gifts she gave us for our baby showers in cotton baby blankets. It was a beautiful way to wrap as well as doubling the gift.
Recycle everything you couldn’t reduce and can’t reuse. According to DoSomething.org, about 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable yet our recycling rate is only 28%.
Time-honored family traditions and a little slice of green living really can walk hand-in-hand during the holidays!