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Friday, November 20, 2009

Are you dreaming of a 'green' Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa?

The holidays are just around the corner — an exciting time for families and especially youngsters. Many of us will shop, decorate our homes and enjoy the festivities. Why not make your celebration "green" this year? It's easy: Here are some ways to enjoy this holiday season while helping cut global warming pollution at the same time:

Do your online and catalog shopping early. Shopping early lets you request ground shipping. Ground is more efficient than overnight, uses less fuel and helps reduce the pollution that causes global warming. It's good for the environment and your pocketbook.
Buy a live, potted tree. After the holidays you can plant it outside or donate it to a local school or park. Or buy a small potted tree that you can keep in its pot and use again next year. If you use a cut tree, go to to find a tree recycler in our area.
Use energy-efficient LED lights. Holiday lights use a lot of energy, especially when left on 24/7. So, when you're ready to decorate, start by replacing your old lights with LED bulbs. They are small, solid lightbulbs which are extremely energy efficient. New LED bulbs are grouped in clusters with diffuser lenses which have broadened the applications for LED use in the home. Then only use the lights when you are going to enjoy them — in the evening. Another green idea: Try solar LEDs — they use no electricity at all.
Look for the Energy Star label when buying electronics or appliances as gifts. They're more energy efficient than conventional models. Also look for an Energy Guide yellow sticker to check the energy use rating. The higher the number, the more energy efficient.
Use less paper and recycle. Send e-cards to friends, reuse last year's wrapping paper and save this year's unused paper. And remember to recycle all those cans, bottles and cardboard boxes.

You don't have to choose between enjoying this time of year and becoming an environmental stick-in-the-mud. As you can see, there are many simple steps that you and your family can take if you are dreaming of a "green" holiday season.

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