by Michele McKay
The holiday season is a time of giving and receiving, but not many people think about what they can give back to Mother Earth. This year you can make your holiday celebrations eco-friendly – and in return, you will receive the knowledge that you have helped make your home and the planet a ‘greener’ place.
The holidays can be extra tough on the environment: extra waste is generated from packaging and wrappers, more gas is burned on shopping trips, and many megawatts of energy go into light displays. Celebrate the planet this year with these eco-friendly holiday tips:
- Enjoy delicious, healthy holiday feasts vegetarian-style… no other single action causes more environmental destruction than raising animals for slaughter. Need recipes? Find them at www.downtoearth.org.
- Just say “no” to wrapping paper. Decorate and reuse shopping bags, magazine pages, newspaper, tissue paper, boxes, tins, cloth… you name it.
- Give ‘wrapperless’ and non-consuming gifts. How about a donation to a favorite charity or an ‘adoption’ program that helps endangered species or ecosystems? Or give the gift of an experience – a special meal or a ticket to an attraction/performance/event.
- Make your own greeting cards from used materials, or go paperless altogether by phoning loved ones or sending electronic greetings.
- Use canvas or ‘reused’ bags from home when shopping.
- Save gas by combining shopping trips or by doing your shopping online.
- Cut energy consumption by reducing the display time of your holiday lights.
- Buy recycled. Purchase gifts or cards that are made of recycled materials. Look for the green ‘chasing arrows’ on packages, and support the companies that are making waste into new goods.
- Recharge. If you are giving something that requires batteries, include rechargeable batteries and a charger with the gift.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle in holiday entertaining. Go with reusable dinnerware and cloth napkins, and recycle your beverage and other containers.
- Have your Christmas tree chipped and composted. On O’ahu call 692-5410 or visit www.opala.org for more information. On Maui call 270-7874.
- Or… here in the Islands it is easy to find an alternative to a cut tree. Live trees will bring years of enjoyment when planted outside after the holidays. Or get creative and decorate a beautiful tropical plant that can live indoors or outdoors.