No Waste Holiday Ideas: How to have a Greener Holiday

Lynn Nystrom

Many families are wondering how they can make this a Greener Holiday but still enjoy the season with family and friends. Even if you are the “lone environmentalist” in your family or group, that is trying to practice good environmental practices, you can make a difference.

Reduce: Use less stuff, rethink what you purchase and how it is packaged.

Reuse: Reuse what you can, don’t be so quick to throw away. Try to think of new creative ways to use an item or donate to others.

Recycle: Recycle what you must throw away.

  • Don’t gift wrap; use reusable bags.
  • Say NO to unwanted plastic bag when shopping. Carry your own plastic bags or a reusable bag
    Look for gifts that are unpackaged or minimally packaged without unnecessary plastic wrap or cardboard packaging. (Never hesitate to contact the manufacturer to share your concerns on unnecessary packaging!)
  • Buy recycled gift wrap and holiday cards when at all possible.
  • Support local farmers and their families by buying local produce and meat whenever possible.
  • Buy in bulk to reduce packaging.
  • Start a compost bin or pile for non-dairy and non-meat food waste. By spring you will have compost (fertilizer – black gold) for your garden, or if you are not a gardener, you have kept that food waste out of the landfill!
  • Use reusable tableware, we all know how tempting it is to use disposable plates, cups and cutlery, but it will still be in the landfill for hundreds of years to come.
  • Buy energy efficient light bulbs, installing 6 compact fluorescent light bulbs can save the American family $60 per year. CFL’S (compact fluorescent light bulbs) may be recycled at any Home Depot store.
  • Buy energy–saving LED holiday lights. These use 90% less energy than conventional holiday lights and can save your family $50 over the holiday season.
  • Use an artificial tree.
  • If you buy a live tree, search for one that is pesticide free and chemical colorant free. Buy a tree that you can plant afterward. If your live tree can’t be replanted, Gallatin residents may leave it at the street for pick up with brush to be recycled. County residents may take their to Sumner Co. Resource Authority off Steam Plant Rd. and for a small fee the tree will be taken and recycled.