By Tim Henderson
Interested in going green during the holiday season? Looking for holiday conservation tips you can use around the home and in all your seasonal celebrations?
You’ve come to the right place.
While the holidays are a time of merriment and cheer, they can also be wasteful and damaging to the environment.
According to the CDC, Americans produce 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve than any other time of the year.
With that in mind, here’s our simple guide to going green and reducing waste this holiday season.
Whether you’re interested in lowering your carbon footprint or merely creating less trash this holiday season, the following tips can help:
Want our best holiday conservation tips? The first is just to watch your energy consumption during the Holiday season.
If you’re going to decorate your home with lights, for example, choose energy-efficient LED lights, and plug them into a timer to conserve electricity.
Additionally, be conscious when it comes time to purchase decorations for your home. Instead of buying energy-intensive plastic decorations, decorate with pine boughs and other natural materials, which save energy and keep your home looking beautiful.
If you buy living trees during the holidays, you have to replace them each year. As it stands now, more than 28 million live trees are sold in the U.S. each holiday season. Each of these trees takes water, energy, and time to grow, and many environmental leaders believe buying a new one each year is wasteful.
If you purchase an artificial tree to decorate, though, you can reuse it annually. This saves energy and decreases your carbon footprint in the process.
Can’t give up the tradition of a living tree? Consider buying a potted tree, which can double as a houseplant or outdoor decoration after the holiday season has passed. One of the easiest green tips for winter, this is a smart and eco-friendly way to use cut down on consumption year after year, without sacrificing the smell, feel, and look of a real tree.
Alternately, research sustainable tree facilities near you, or ask your state cooperative extension service which tree-producers grow their products with forest sustainability in mind.
When the holidays are over, don’t throw your tree away. Instead, take it to a chipping facility for processing.
Headed out on a big shopping trip? Don’t forget to bring your bags. This cuts down on waste and makes your outing eco-friendlier. To make sure you don’t forget your bags, keep them in a small basket in your car, where they’ll be ready for all your holiday outings.
Consider carpooling to local establishments, and grouping several small shopping trips into one larger excursion. This cuts down on carbon emissions and makes it easy to enjoy some additional social time with your friends and family.
Buying local is a great way to support your community while also nabbing unique gifts for everyone on your list.
Instead of buying from big box stores this season, pick up tickets to a local play, grab a hat from the craftsperson down the street, or give gift cards to local restaurants.
These gifts are creative and work to keep your money in the local economy. If you’re a Santa Cruz local, check out this list of unique local businesses.
As much as you can, avoid extra packaging around the holidays. While this is easier said than done, buying food in bulk, serving meals with fully washable utensils, and making homemade items (like hot chocolate and cookies) in large quantities can help.
Shopping online this holiday season? Re-use boxes to wrap other, smaller gifts, or break them down and take them to your local recycling plant.
Don’t forget to also wrap your gifts in sustainable or re-usable items, like old newspapers, handkerchiefs, or unwanted maps. If each American family covered three of their presents in reusable materials this holiday, it would reduce waste significantly. In fact, the CDC reports it would save 45,000 football fields’ worth of paper!
Why not give yourself the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season? When it comes to going green, solar panels are the ultimate option.
In addition to the fact that solar panels can save you money on utility bills, they also reduce air and water pollution and cut down on the need for finite resources. Fully renewable, solar power is the world’s most abundant energy source.
To learn more about solar panels for your home, contact your local solar installer today.
There are many ways to go green this holiday season, and most of them don’t require overhauling your home or your life.
By simply wrapping gifts in reusable materials, carpooling on holiday outings, bringing your own shopping bags to the store, purchasing a potted or artificial tree, and being mindful of your overall energy consumption, you can enjoy a happier, greener holiday season.
If you’re looking for a way to make a big change this year, you might also want to consider installing solar panels. A fantastic option for anyone who wants to save money on their energy bills and reduce their environmental impact, solar panels, can help make your home greener, both now and in the future.
If you’re thinking about installing a residential solar power system on your home, contact Sandbar Solar.
Our Santa Cruz solar services include free estimates, custom design, and expert installation. Our portfolio features thousands of residential and commercial solar panel installations across the region. We’re proud of our reputation for designing and installing the most efficient solar panels for the Central Coast – including Santa Cruz and Monterey counties – as well as San Jose and the Bay Area.
Tim has worked in the solar industry since 2008. He has a Master's Degree in Energy Resources Engineering from Stanford University. His years of experience include working on solar energy projects for both homes and commercial properties. Tim enjoys sharing his knowledge of this evolving industry and making a difference in his community.