Article from Fort Bragg Environmental Management
The holiday season is a season to celebrate … to reflect on the waning year and look forward to the year ahead … to enjoy special moments with families and friends. Yet, the holiday season can also be a season to be conscious of the environment. You don’t have to be The Grinch Who Stole Christmas to be GREEN! You can be green by incorporating some sustainable practices into your holiday traditions.
- To light your home for the holidays and conserve energy, use energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) lights. LED lights consume 80 to 90 percent less energy than conventional incandescent holiday lights and can save electric costs during the season. To light a Christmas tree for 12 hours each day for 40 days, one would spend an average of $25.13 with incandescent lights but only $0.56 with LED lights. In addition, LED lights have a lifespan of 200,000 hours whereas incandescent lights have a lifespan of only 3,000 hours. LED lights are affordable and available in a variety of styles and colors, and they are available at most major retailers.
- Power down your light display during daylight hours. Always extinguish your lights when you are not at home and when you retire for the night.
- Adorn your home with natural, biodegradable items such as fresh flowers, dried herbs, fruits, pine boughs, pine cones and berries.
- Create your own ornaments and decorations with reclaimed materials.
- Reuse ornaments and decorations every year.
- If possible, choose recyclable ornaments and decorations.
- Use soy candles instead of paraffin candles. Paraffin candles are petroleum-based and can emit chemicals when burned.
- The waste generated in the United States increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, and one of the largest sources of waste during the holidays is discarded wrapping paper. In fact, half of the paper consumed in America is used to wrap or decorate consumer products. This year, choose recyclable wrapping paper or paper that is manufactured from recycled content.
- Reclaimed paper from maps, calendars, newspapers and magazines can be economical and sustainable alternatives to traditional wrapping paper.
- Be creative and think outside the roll. Reusable materials such as glass jars, tin boxes and colorful fabrics can also create unique presentations. Consider natural materials such as raffia, dried fruits, cinnamon sticks, holly, berries and pine boughs to trim your presents.
- Live Christmas trees are generally more sustainable than artificial Christmas trees. However, live Christmas trees can be cultivated with chemical pesticides, fertilizers and colorants. Consider a locally-harvested, organic Christmas tree.
- Every year, 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in North America, and nearly 30 million of those trees are discarded as trash. Live Christmas trees should be recycled. For residents of Fort Bragg housing, Corvias Military Living will offer a tree collection from December 26 until January 17. Residents may contact their community centers for more information. The Fort Bragg Landfill will also accept Christmas trees for recycling after December 26. Call 396.6873 or 432.0295 for details.
GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK
- There are many options for festive but sustainable holiday presents. Consider “green” gifts.
- Give an experience such as movie tickets or passes to a local museum.
- Americans send over three billion greeting cards during the holiday season, so to reduce the paper waste, send your holiday greetings and party invitations electronically. If you prefer traditional greeting cards, choose cards printed on recycled paper. Recycle your cards after the holidays.
ENVIRONMENTALLY PREFERRED PARTIES
- Choose local and organic foods.
- Use reusable plates, glasses and utensils instead of disposable products. If you must use disposable products, choose environmentally preferred materials made from recycled content or materials that are recyclable, compostable or biodegradable. Avoid Styrofoam products.
RESOLUTIONS TO REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE
- Common holiday wastes including electronics and waste vegetable oil are recyclable at the Fort Bragg Recycling Center. The Fort Bragg Recycling Center is located on the corner of Butner Road and Reilly Road, across from the Fort Bragg Veterinary Clinic and just prior to the entrance to Pope Army Airfield. Hours are Monday through Friday from 0730 until 1600. Call 432.6412 for more information.
- Nearly 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Choose rechargeable batteries to reduce waste.
- If you receive a gift that you cannot use, donate it to charity. Or, regift it wisely.
SUSTAINABLE GIFT IDEAS AND OTHER IDEAS FOR A GREEN HOLIDAY …