Eco-Friendly Holidays: Tips for ‘Greening’ the Season

The holiday season is a magical time of the year—but can also be a wasteful one. The time period from Thanksgiving-New Year’s has a huge environmental impact in terms of water use, greenhouse gases and land disturbance caused by the production of some of our favorite holiday treats and staples. The good news? If we take even tiny steps toward reducing our footprint this holiday season, the results an go a very long way. (FUN FACT: If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 28,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the Earth!).

Here are some easy ‘green’ shifts to consider this year:

DIY Gifts. If you’ve been given a homemade gift lately, you know how special it feels to receive such a treat. Keep it simple, keep it healthy, and keep it from the heart this holiday season.
Gifts in a Jar
Edible Food Gifts
Gifts Kids Can Make

Or…buy eco-friendly gifts. Resist buying gifts that will end up in a landfill. Purchase Earth-forward gifts that will improve the life of the recipient without harming the planet. Some of our favorites:

Use recycled wrapping paper. Did you know traditional gift wrap is not always recyclable? Reusing and recycling materials you find around the house (paper grocery bags, magazines, newspapers, old bits of fabric) is a better (and free!) way to go—at least your wrap served a purpose at one time. Or purchase reusable wrap like this.

Make your own decorations. Most of these DIY decoration ideas—based on recycling and upcycling what you have at home and foraging for what you don’t—cost next to nothing to make and are fun family activities (with a subtle environmental message attached!).

Use LED holiday lights. A household with an extravagant Christmas light display will spend enough money to heat and power an average house for six weeks, and produce 882 pounds of carbon dioxide. Save energy and reduce harmful CO2 emissions by purchasing LED (light emitting diode) lights this holiday season. LED lights are pricier, but they last longer and use 80 percent less energy than conventional lights. Solar lights—charged on a sunny winter day and glowing by night—are also a better bet, and require no electricity source.

Buy an organic tree. Like conventionally grown produce, the pesticides used on conventionally grown Christmas trees have been associated with a range of health issues including cancer, birth defects, asthma and more. Find an organic Christmas tree farm on Long Island/NY State, then make sure you dispose of it the right way.

Don’t waste food. Americans throw away roughly $165 billion in uneaten food every year, according to government data. To help combat all this waste, the NRDC’s Save the Food Campaign has come up with a dinner party food calculator…just in time for the holidays. Make what you need, eat what you make.

Enjoy your holidays! And if you start a new holiday habit with an eye on the environment, post it on Instagram, and tag Rising Tide Market. We’d love to see what you’re up to! Little changes can go a long way…

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