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Save Money and the Planet with These Tips for a Greener Holiday Season

YES Communities 12/01/2021

There are so many great things about the holiday season: gathering with friends and family, seasonal lights and decorations, delicious meals, and the opportunity to give back to our communities.But along with the festive atmosphere, there are also some traditions that are less sustainable.During the holidays, there’s a lot of pressure on us to take advantage of seasonal “deals,” and to buy as much as we can.This pressure leads to stress; on ourselves, our wallets, and the environment.However, there are lots of things that can be done to reduce our environmental impact and encourage eco-friendly practices while keeping the holiday season affordable and fun.

Wrapping paper

Although it does vary from one waste facility to another, many types of wrapping paper are non-recyclable.Even for those facilities that accept some types, wrapping paper with a metallic finish, glitter, or any other plastic element cannot be recycled.Colored tissue paper is also non-recyclable, as the paper pulp fibers within it are too short to be reused.

Holiday Lights

Buying Christmas lights this year? Choose an LED light: they last much longer and save energy, which lowers the energy cost of having lights in the first place. Have a strand of old lights that’s burned out? Many hardware stores offer recycling for old lights.

Reuse Wrapping Material

Still have some bags from other holidays? Save your ribbons from years before? It’s a perfect time to prioritize reusable gift containers.Wrap gifts in newspaper, scarves, or wrap a box and it’s top separately, so it can be used again.

Shop Small

When possible, support your local businesses. Purchasing gifts from local stores saves money and fuel by reducing the environmental impact of shipping and excess packaging. It also helps your community! Shopping for locally grown produce and locally raised meat when it’s available is also a great way to help the environment and appreciate delicious food, while supporting local farmers.

Give Experiences

Another way to support local business and reduce waste is to give the gift of experiences. A trip to the zoo or a museum, tickets to the game, a gift certificate to a local restaurant, or even planning a special activity at home is a great way to gift without excess waste, and encourages spending time together.

Do It Yourself

Who says you have to buy your gifts? Show off your skills as a baker, craftsperson, and more by making your own gifts. Knit a scarf, whip up a batch of your favorite treats, or create a photo collage.

Buying a Christmas Tree? Recycle it after the season!

Did you know that there are recycling programs for Christmas trees? Many cities offer tree pickup for turning into wood chips or using in construction projects. Bonus points for buying a tree that’s pesticide-free.

Recycle your Tech

Got a new gadget for Christmas? Use a tech recycling program or buyback program.These programs enable the useable parts of old devices to be used again, and they can be good for the wallet too!

Express Gratitude

Perhaps most importantly, remember that the holiday season is about expressing love for those around us, not things.A good holiday season emphasizes what’s important to you, whatever that may be. 

Thank you!

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