Eco-Friendly Holidays

December 12, 2012 | Tower Hill Insurance

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It’s the busiest time of year for entertaining family and friends, and the perfect opportunity to start a new tradition that’s eco-friendly.

During the holidays, wrapping paper, shipping boxes, shopping bags, greeting cards, wasted food, and Christmas trees account add up to a lot of extra trash.

According to RecycleWorks.org, every week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s we send an extra one million tons of waste to U.S. landfills. Make a positive difference this holiday season — go green!

When decorating your home, choose LED lights, which save energy and help lower your energy bill. Another green lighting option is solar powered lights, which are now widely available in stores and are ideal to use, especially in the Sunshine State.

Instead of burning paraffin candles at your holiday table, choose soy candles. They not only burn longer, they burn cleaner by producing up to 90 percent less soot. When cooking and baking your family’s traditional favorites, purchase locally grown or organic items to help reduce the carbon footprint.

When shopping for gifts, why not make the wrapping part of the present? If there is a green-thumbed gardener on your list a watering can or clay pot would be a great container for his or her gift, and the wrapping would be reusable all year long. Help your favorite cook or baker put their new cookbook to use right away by wrapping it in a festive apron or colorful kitchen towels.

You can easily eliminate sending more trash to the landfills by shopping with eco-friendly bags, sending e-cards instead of paper ones, recycling Christmas trees, and finding creative alternatives to wrapping paper and boxes. Start your New Year’s resolution to go green a little early and celebrate your holidays by being more eco-friendly. For more tips visit Planet Green.

Earth911.org includes ideas for making simple ornaments from reused materials like plastic bottle icicles, plus a quick search feature to locate Christmas tree recycling centers in your local area.

Already gone green? Take this quick online Green Gift Giver quiz to find out how you score.