Today’s MI Environment article is courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Conservation Program.
Thanksgiving is over. Christmas decorations have started and people are starting their holiday shopping. Your thoughts may be on the list of gifts you need to buy, but here at Energy Saver we have a different kind of list – how to save money and energy and get in the holiday spirit during the Christmas period. We are working hard to create a list of. holiday. The holiday season is a time to give. What better way to celebrate than by contributing to the planet and saving energy and money in the process?
LED holiday lights decorate the Christmas tree.
Shop with reusable bags
Thousands of paper and plastic bags end up in landfills every year. Instead of increasing waste, shop with reusable cloth bags. This not only reduces waste but also makes your gift more durable to transport. If you don’t plan on using cloth bags, try consolidating your purchases into as few bags as possible.
Also, don’t forget to take it out of the car after you go shopping. Adding extra weight to your vehicle can result in higher costs at the pump (and exit if you drive an electric vehicle).
dig into leftovers
Food tends to be plentiful during the holidays. Store leftovers properly to prevent food waste. Reuse empty glass bottles, plastic pails, coffee cans, and other containers you might otherwise be tempted to throw away. These containers can be used to store leftovers and other miscellaneous items such as ribbons for wrapping presents. Always wash thoroughly before reusing. For more food storage tips, check out our tips for using your refrigerator and freezer.
If you have any leftover, whole, untouched food after the party, you can donate it to your local food bank or shelter.
Decorate without spending on electricity
When decorating your home this holiday season, you can start by prioritizing non-electrical tinsel and garland to reflect ambient light.
When connecting decorations, be sure to use LED lights. Lighting a 6-foot tree 12 hours a day for 40 days costs only $0.27 in energy costs, compared to $10 for incandescent lights. LED lights have a lower fire risk, are more durable, and have a longer lifespan. Setting your lights on a timer will also help you save money and energy, as they will turn on or off at specific times.
Why not consider purchasing a potted tree to decorate this year? And when the holidays are over, you can plant them in your garden or keep them around your house to reduce waste from cutting down and disposing of live trees. Our landscaping page is a good reference for how, what and where to plant. If you purchase a felled tree, look for a local program that recycles the tree. Many communities offer free mulching programs.
Every year during the holiday season, thousands of pounds of wrapping paper are produced using exorbitant amounts of energy and then discarded shortly after the precious gifts inside are opened. In fact, it takes the energy equivalent of approximately two gallons of gasoline to produce each ream of paper. This idea is not exactly brilliant.
When wrapping gifts, consider using recycled or recycled paper. You can create your own wrapping paper using magazine cutouts with pictures of trees and snow. Reusing gift bags and simple accents like ribbons, bows, or freshly cut green twigs reduces waste and saves money.
Wrapping gifts in fabric is a great choice, but only if the fabric ends up in the hands of someone who will reuse it in some way. Purchasing fabric just for packaging is not as energy efficient as paper. However, the problem can be solved if the gift can also be wrapped as part of the gift, such as wrapping kitchen utensils in cloth napkins or wrapping toiletries in fluffy new towels or bathrobes. Be especially considerate and make your gifts sustainable.
Of course, wrapping gifts is not the most energy efficient way. Choose gifts that don’t require wrapping. Donations to charities, fun new hobby classes, and tickets to events can be given with cards made from recycled paper or paper alternatives.
Don’t forget about the other packaging associated with the gift. When shipping gifts, try to recycle cardboard boxes, buy products with less packaging, and use biodegradable or recycled packaging. We hope that delivery services will choose to deploy more energy-efficient delivery trucks.
With these energy-efficient tips, you can save energy and money, protect the planet, and spread more holiday fun.