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Simple Acts to Make a Difference in Climate Change HOLIDAYS

1 Dec 2022 12:21 PM | Megan Shellman-Rickard (Administrator)
The holiday season is upon us with shopping & gifting and time with family & friends. It’s a joyous time, but unfortunately also a time of great waste & use of energy. How can we make our celebrations more sustainable?

Green Holiday Shopping

Make sure that you bring your own reusable tote when shopping for gifts or groceries. And totes make great gifts. There are so many styles & flavors of tote bags from Shutterfly Photo Cotton Tote Bag with memorable family photos to fancy designed totes that can be reused for everyone’s shopping needs.

Gifts that encourage sustainability such as a cookbook for leftovers or reusable carry-out containers are useful. Bar soaps purchased from bins at Whole Foods or Natural Grocers are always welcome. If you give gifts that require batteries include rechargeable batteries.

We can all use more life experiences such as gift certificates to local restaurants or museums, upcoming concerts, movie theatres, art classes. Grandkids can give coupons of things they would do such as “One free Foot Massage”. The gift of time is the best you can give a loved one.

Homemade gifts such as knitted or crocheted hat or scarf, herbed vinegars, jellies or jams, cookies, repurposed jewelry. My sister gives us a family calendar every year with photos, old & new, of our growing family. Such fun that we all submit photos year-long for her to include.

Climate Friendly Wrapping

Gift bags are a great alternative to wrapping paper and can be used over & over again. President Megan saved the Sunday Comics all year in which to wrap her gifts for this season. Another idea is to use the “wrapping” as part of the gift such as a garden pot filled with garden supplies or mixing bowl filled with goodies for the kitchen. I am always envious of the beautiful woven totes I see many women carry when shopping at Farmers Markets. Perfect to fill with breads or cookies. Make your own reusable gift bags; one needs only a glue gun, scissors, cloth, & ribbon.

Environmental Holiday Decorations

LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are not only 90% more efficient than traditional lights, but they also last much longer. Many big box stores offer recycling or holiday light exchange programs for those old energy-sapping lights.

Rather than an artificial tree, cut trees are a much greener choice with, of course purchasing a potted native evergreen tree to be replanted after the holidays being the best. Stay away from tinsel & plastic ornaments (see NFBPWC ESD September 2022 newsletter on PLASTICS). Ornaments from berries, evergreen branches, dried flowers, & herbs add an essence of fragrance to your home.

Green Parties

It's time to bring out all those beautiful dishes and silverware. Avoid plasticware, paper plates & napkins. Stay away from individually packaged drinks. Purchase locally grown produce & foods whenever possible. Many Farmers Markets offer holiday markets for just this purpose. Plan your menu to minimize food waste. Ask guests to bring reusable containers to send them home with leftovers. Donate leftover food to local food banks and compost food that is not donated.

By: Marikay Shellman, Chair, NFBPWC Environment and Sustainable Development Committee (2022-2024)

Every member of the ESD Committee contributed to this article for our magazine:  Sue Oser, Daneene Monroe Rusnak, Megan Shellman Rickard & Laurie Dameron

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