Eco-Friendly Holiday Habits Everyone Needs to Use

The holidays are a hectic time, so it can be easy to fall into routine and just do whatever is the most convenient. Helping the environment and practicing sustainable life habits often gets forgotten or overlooked, since people are busy traveling, planning parties, and hosting families and friends. However, here are some easy changes you can make to your holiday festivities that are friendlier to the environment. 

Invest in LED Lights 

LED and energy star approved lights and light-up decorations are a great way to save energy during the holidays! LED lights used about 90% less energy than regular lights, and they can save about $50 on energy bills during the holidays. In general, just turning off lights and decorations when you aren't home or in the room is a great way to save energy during the holiday season. 

Change Up Your Tree 

Live and fake trees might look nice in the home, but they are often dumped in landfills when people are done with them. Instead, invest in a plantable tree and plant it somewhere nice outside when the holiday season is over, where they can help decrease carbon dioxide levels and put more oxygen into the air. 

If you still want just a traditional tree, recycle it to be turned into mulch or wood chips. You can search for local tree recycling programs here. 

Use Alternatives to Paper Products

The paper industry is the third largest source of greenhouse gases, and there are many paper and plastic products used during the holidays. Reduce paper waste by sending out emails and e-cards instead of physical paper holiday cards. There are many online services that offer quality e-cards for either free or at a decent price. When hosting a holiday parties for family and friends, opt for cloth napkins and plates and silverware that aren't paper or plastic to help decrease the amount of waste your party produces. When shopping, use reusable bags rather than plastic ones, which many stores sell themselves for a low, reasonable price. 

Furthermore, a lot of wrapping papers contain materials that cannot be recycled, not to mention that many of them are made in sweatshops under inhumane conditions. Replace traditional wrapping paper with homemade wrapping paper from recycled maps, comic books, newspapers, or another paper product. You can also reuse old wrapping paper that has been kept intact, as well as old gift bags, tissue paper, ribbons and bows, and boxes. 

Go Green at Starbucks 

As the temperatures drop, more and more people flock to their favorite coffee shops throughout the day for hot drinks to warm themselves up in the colder weather. While the coffee cups are often compostable, the lids and straws are not. If you are an avid coffee drinker, invest in a thermos to bring with you on each Starbucks run, as well as a reusable straw, which can be found for super cheap on Amazon! This change might seem small, but especially if you get coffee every day, if can make a huge impact on the environment. 

Recycle Your Old Tech 

If you get a new phone or tablet over the holidays, recycle it rather than just throwing it away. Phones and tablets contain a lot of hazardous materials that can leak from landfills into surrounding environments, making it dangerous to simply throw them in the trash. As a part of the Sierra Club phone recycling program, Stables stores have drop off locations for people to recycle their old phones and tablets. 

With these tips, you can move towards living a more eco-friendly and sustainable life during the holiday season. The environment is still an important and relevant issue, especially with the current wildfires in California. The only way to truly save our planet is to change out daily habits to live in a way that has a less negative impact on the environment.