Tips to make your holiday season a little more 'green'!

The holiday season is upon us, and there are so many wonderful traditions that help us to celebrate with family and friends like entertaining, gift giving and decorating. Here are some tips to make your holiday season “greener.”

When entertaining:

Invest in an extra set of inexpensive plates. The white ones go with anything. This way you won’t need the single-use paper or plastic plates. Same goes for utensils and glasses. In the long run, you’ll save money and “green” your entertaining events.

Buy some inexpensive cloth napkins. Place them in a napkin holder, and they will look very festive around your holiday table.

Purchase some inexpensive cloth hand towels. These can be placed in a basket to be used by your guests when they wash their hands.

Buy local and organic foods whenever possible. Not only is the organic produce much healthier for you, you’ll be supporting local farmers.

Set up a recycle container for your gathering. Ask your guests to help you recycle.

When shopping for your event, make sure to bring your reusable bags or boxes. Make it a goal to get out of the store with as few plastic bags as possible.

When gift giving:

Give the gift of your time instead of the gift of “stuff.” Give your loved one or friend the gift of a trip to a local venue – Playhouse Square Theaters, Huntington Playhouse, Clague Playhouse, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Museum of Art, or the RainForest at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo are great places to visit in winter.

Buy gifts that use organic, re-purposed, and recycled content.

Look for gifts that are made locally.

When gift wrapping, use gift paper that is non-foil type paper and make sure to recycle it.

Give gifts that help others to be “greener” – ideas include a bicycle, a compost bin and a rain barrel.

Instead of buying a bunch of “stuff” for your kids, consider opening a bank or mutual fund account with a generous deposit. Your children can watch their money grow over time. This also teaches your kids the value of saving.

When decorating:

Use decorations that can be reused each holiday season.

Buy the LED lights for your tree and holiday decorating. They only use a fraction of the electricity of the traditional lights and will save you significant amounts on your electric bill.

Put your lights on a timer. That way you can program them to be on only when they’ll be enjoyed.

Recycle your used lights – both Home Depot and Lowe's will recycle used Christmas lights.

If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure that it goes to the local compost facility, not the landfill, when you are done with it. Many cities (including Bay Village and Westlake) have programs to pick up and shred real Christmas trees. The trees must be free of all non-compostable items such as tinsel, ornaments and lights, and cannot be in a plastic bag.

Brenda OReilly

Co-Chair of the Bay Village Green Team

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Volume 3, Issue 25, Posted 2:42 PM, 12.13.2011