Tips for an eco-friendly holiday

Kelly Stewart

Staff Writer

LED Christmas lights offer a more eco-friendly decoration. Photo by Brian Hwu.

This holiday season, while many students are taking a much-needed break, it is important to consider these tips on having a more eco-friendly holiday, which could save money in the process.

Getting a real tree may seem like a mess, and it doesn’t last as long as artificial trees, but getting a real Christmas tree will help to replace oxygen in the atmosphere and remove the carbon dioxide. This will save petroleum products – the materials used to make the trees – and when discarded, live trees are biodegradable, unlike artificial trees that can stay in landfills for many years.

“For the people that have a live tree in their house, we suggest using [the city’s …] recycling program after Christmas,” Coppell Environmental Health Committee member Cristal Rollins said. “When you put your tree out after Christmas and it gets picked up on your recycling day and it is actually taken to a facility where they use it to make mulch and compost.”

When wrapping gifts, use materials that can be reused or recycled easily. Instead of using wrapping paper, use gift bags to be reused. When you need wrapping paper, try to find paper made out of environmentally friendly materials such as hemp fibers, and avoid using metallic or very shiny paper, as it does not recycle well.

“There [are] actually a lot of options for buying gift wrap that is made with recycled content. I know the Container Store has several options this year, and even places like Target and Walmart have some,” Rollins said. “Or even just [giving] concert tickets that don’t require a lot of packaging.”

As for cards, try making some out of paper to add a personal touch. Store bought cards are made of a less biodegradable material.

And when planning a party this year, it would be a good idea to skip the paper plates.

“As far as plates are concerned, I would use actual plates, and if you can’t do that then paper,” Spanish teacher at CHS Recycling Club sponsor said. “But definitely avoid Styrofoam.”

Even the leftover food from the party can be recycled.

“You can compost a lot of your leftover food scraps and vegetable scraps and things like that,” Rollins said. “It’s not as easy as some of the other options are, but the less you throw away, the less waste you create, the better.”

Rollins said Americans spend about 25 percent more trash during Thanksgiving and Christmas than any other time of the year.

Decorations such as yard lights can use up a lot of energy, but if LED lights are used, not only are they more efficient, but also they last longer. This helps to not only save electricity, but it also saves money as well.