Holiday Decor Supported by Al Gore
A Christmas tree made from pine cones by Allison Franklin’s mother. Photo by Allison Franklin.
With the blissful memories created during the holidays comes a broad set of potential environmental issues. During the holidays, Americans tend to generate an increase in waste production. Studies have concluded an estimated 25 percent increase in household waste from Thanksgiving to New Years. There are possible ways to stay eco-friendly and still have fun through the Holidays.
First, let’s address holiday lights. Always use LED lights instead of incandescent. For those who aren’t aware, LED lights consume as much as 90 percent less electricity than incandescent lights. After all, less energy consumption leads to a direct reduction in CO2 emissions. LED bulbs last longer than incandescent bulbs. EnvironmentalLights.com offers a great variety of lights, plus all of their bulbs are LED; furthermore, the company complies with the Reduction of Hazardous Substances.
Specifically, no lead is used in the production of all of the light fixations they market. For outdoor lighting, use solar-powered lights. The lights sit out in the sunlight all day, so harness the solar power.
It is possible to use solar powered lights indoors. In my dorm, there is actually a string of solar-powered lights taped onto the window at the moment. The miniature solar panel sits on the window sill inside of the room. It absorbs sunlight and converts it into a perfect shade of purple. The cord is long enough to have the panel at the window, and have the lights on a tree. This setup requires absolutely zero outlets.
Decorations for gifts during the Holiday season can easily be used wisely. When it comes to bags for gifts, try reusing the same bags from previous years. Reusing the same bag saves you money while also avoiding resources being wasted.
A personal favorite idea for gift wrap is substituting newspaper for wrapping paper. Most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. If using newspaper, not only is no money spent by repurposing a read newspaper, but newspaper is recyclable.
To avoid the monotony of bland black and white newspaper wrapped gifts, try dyeing the paper with a mixture of food coloring and water. Newspaper is extremely dry and thirsty, so it quickly absorbs any moisture.
For a more artsy and edgy appeal, dye the paper with coffee. Who doesn’t love the scent of coffee? Newspaper can easily be folded into cute ribbons or flowers. Forget spending extra money for ribbon; rather, use scrap newspaper lying around. If feeling extra dedicated for a special someone, try making a collage from old magazines as the wrapping paper.
Last, repurpose the no longer needed sheets of copy paper from classes and wrap the box with that. Go buy a cute ink stamp, or even several stamps, and have at it. Turn that dull sheet of paper into a beautiful piece of art with strategically placed stamps. After all, the holiday season is the time where cheap craftiness prevails over all else. Please note that all of these options are economically sound, and they’re all recyclable afterwards.
All in all, be aware of actions through the holidays and be environmentally aware of the products you use. Be sure to avoid leaving lights on at unnecessary times.