Eco-friendly alternatives promote a ‘green’ Christmas

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This holiday season should be all about saving the environment while enjoying the cold weather and the exchanging of gifts. Being environmentally kind this season is definitely something to keep in mind.  

“I think it would be a good idea to be eco-friendly during the holidays because people don’t realize how much of an impact their waste has on the world,” HOPE Club officer Kaitlyn Beyer (’21) saidThey might not think they are affecting the world, but one purchase from overseas can contribute to plastic pollution, air pollution, water pollution, and it uses paper unnecessarily.”  

Inhaling air pollution can reduce lifespan by about a year. However, reducing air pollution isn’t the only other alternate. There are many other alternatives that can be used in order to have an eco-friendly season. Gift wrapping creates a lot of waste around the holiday season. Not only can you consider reusing bags, but there are also other ways.  

“Try gifting presents in bags instead of wrapping paper because bags can easily be reused in the future,” Victoria Westra (’20) said. 

Others also have similar opinions on how to contribute in order to help save the environment while still having a holiday season that is full of joy.  

“Our environment is extremely important and every effort counts, especially during the holidays when we use a lot of unnecessary paper,” Juli Giza (’20) said. “My sister reuses wrapping paper and gift bags every year to be eco-friendlier.”  

Festive holiday lights consume 6.63 billion kilowatt hours of electricity every year. A 100-count string of mini lights uses 40 watts, while a 70 count of 5mm LEDs is approximately 4.8 watts total. 

 “Don’t cover your house in lights and leave it on 24/7 or at least buy energy saving LED holiday lights and get a pesticide free Christmas tree,” HOPE Club member Anahita Eshaghi (’20) said. 

The holiday season is a time for giving, eating, and spending time with close friends and family. Unfortunately, though, the season can also involve more waste and excess than other times of the year. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t still go green. 

 “Consider using an artificial tree. While they may have more carbon emissions initially, they can last for years so they are better than cutting trees down in the end,” Beyer said. “You can also use energy saving Christmas lights, and using local produce and meat products for the holiday meals in order to reduce emissions from transporting them from other places in the country.”  

When it comes to cooking on Christmas, Beyer isn’t the only one who has thought of ideas to help reduce waste. There are plenty of environmental benefits to purchasing produce grown locally and planning more plant-based meals. 

“When cooking or baking try not to use easily disposable materials like saran wrap or tin foil. Instead, store the foods in reusable containers,” Westra said. 

Not all the gifts that you buy for people have to be bought from the store or shipped to your house from another state or a different country.  

“I think that people enjoy getting thoughtful gifts more than getting a gift that has no meaning but it cost a lot of money. You can give more while spending less,” Eshaghi said. “Not only does that help save the environment but it shows your devotion and how much you care about that other person.”  

A lot of the environmental costs that are associated with the holiday season can be reduced by spreading awareness and pre-planning. It isn’t hard to be eco-friendly while also having an amazing spirited season.