Top Ten Holiday Tips: How to Have an Environmentally Friendly Holiday Season

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s easy to have a fun and environmentally safe December. Here is a list of things you can do to make sure your friends and family enjoy a season of cheer while also protecting the Earth.​

Shop and Buy Locally

Shopping at local businesses for gifts not only supports Maryland families and our State’s economy – it’s also good for our environment. Buying local gifts and food products means less packing, less shipping, and reduced carbon emissions. Gift certificates for personal services such as a massage, manicure, pedicure, haircut, dinner out, or a museum membership make a great gift, support local businesses, and provide a treat for the recipient.

Give Environmentally Friendly Gifts

This year why not give a gift that makes a difference? This can include giving young trees, flower bulbs or seeds, a homemade gift, or a gift of your time — use your baking or baby-sitting skills, or volunteer at a charitable organization.

Use Good Quality Decorations

Buy quality decorations that last year after year. Store the decorations carefully, and avoid cheaper varieties, which have to be thrown away after only one use.

Use Batteries Sparingly

It’s best to buy products that require electricity from a main source, but when batteries are absolutely needed, look for ones that are free of mercury and cadmium. Also try to use rechargeable batteries whenever possible.

Use Products Made from Recycled Paper

This includes stationary, cards, and wrapping paper.

Encourage Guests to Recycle at Your Holiday Party

Place your recycling bin next to the trash can to make it easier for guests to effortlessly chip in to the recycling effort.

Avoid Disposable and Harmful Products as Gifts

Choose products that do not contain Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s). CFC’s damage the ozone layer. Also, choose products with a long life -- this will help to minimize the energy used in manufacturing of new goods, and it avoids the creation of waste.

Recycle Your Holiday Trash

Byproducts from holiday trash can be recycled or reused in several ways. For example, those dried out trees can be used as garden mulch. Some municipalities make mulching equipment available to the public after the holiday season to reduce the number of trees going to the landfill or incinerator.

Don’t Burn your Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are usually evergreens that contain high amounts of resins that can cause creosote buildup and chimney fires. Consider decorating a live tree that can be planted outside after holidays. Trees are beneficial for the environment as they remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen.

Don’t Burn Wrapping Paper

It can be tempting to burn all that wrapping paper that is lying around after presents are opened, but it is not a good idea. When trash is burned, it can release pollutants and ash into the air. Instead, recycle wrapping paper whenever possible.