Newswise — This year, instead of wishing for a white Christmas, think green instead. An environmentally friendly holiday can be just as festive.
1. Trade in those incandescent lights for LEDs which use a fraction of the energy.
2. Look for recycled content in wrapping paper. This can be difficult to find and may actually require online ordering, but expressing demand will help drive its availability.
3. Recycle your own wrapping paper, boxes, and plasticpackaging.
4. Scale back the elaborate outdoor displays. You can befestive without being Times Square.
5. If you do use outdoor light displays, use a timer so thelights are on display only at times when there is an audience.
6. Give your cookies away on a real plate or recyclable plate. Likewise, if you're hosting a party, either bite the bullet and actually do all those dishes, or use recyclable ones.
7. Take the time in your holiday party aftermath to sortthrough all the cans and bottles that can be recycled.
8. Make good use of your green bin and/or compost bin this holiday season. Uneaten food from holiday dinners and parties can go in here, as can scraps from meal preparation, soiled napkins and paper food packaging, coffee grounds and tea bags, paper plates and your great aunt's famous fruitcake.
9. Consider asking those you exchange gifts with to make a charitable donation in your name. There is no packaging involved. Consider food banks and shelters, or organizations that purchase animals or supplies for families in developing countries. For a truly green Christmas, your contribution could go toward environmental conservation.
10. When gift giving, try an experience present, like tickets to a show, or a night at a hotel. It's something personal that isn't loaded up with all that packaging.
11. Buy sustainable. Many stores offer fair-trade products.
12. Real trees are great, but consider artificial. If buying a real tree, look for trees that are grown locally. Many are shipped from a great distance consuming fuel to bring them to local Christmas tree lots.
13. Take reusable bags with you when you go Christmasshopping. Don't let all that extra shopping generate extraplastic.
14. Save your money, save the environment and spareyourself from long hours of looking for the proper gift items at the mall. Start a trend: show you care with some thoughtful homemade gifts. Local, organic, nutritious food items freshly out of your kitchen can work very well.
15. When practicing your out with the old, in with the new New Year routine, don't just throw out old toys, clothes, shoes and household items. All these items can be donated to organizations who support people less fortunate who would be happy to have them.
EXPERT AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS:Andrew LaursenAssistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biology