Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Definitive Guide to Greening Your Holidays

By: Tyler Linwood

It's December and the holidays are officially upon us! The season means gift giving, parties, holiday decor, and lots and lots of food and drink – all of which takes its toll on the environment. But there are plenty of you can reduce green your holidays. Here are just a few ideas.

Small Steps

Don't put a bow on it – Try green gift wrapping alternatives or explore other ways to have a low-waste holiday season. Reusable items such as bags, jars, scarves, and even tea towels all make for decorative gift containers and wrappings that can either become part of the gift itself, or can be reused year after year.

Give green – There are plenty of eco-friendly options when it comes to deciding on what to get for your friends and loved ones this holiday season. It's always best to shop locally and support environmentally conscious businesses where possible and, thanks to the free Live Green Perks app, you can get exclusive deals and discounts for doing just that! If you're looking to get away from the culture of consumerism, but still want to get something special for your friends and family this year, experiences and excursions that you can share together make great gifts as well. Be sure to check out some of our favourite experience gifts that are part of the Perks program, including passes to the Ontario Science Centre, ROM, Segway Tours and more.

More great, green ideas after the jump...

Medium Steps

The Big Tree Debate – If, like me, you like to have a Christmas tree up in your home every year around the holidays, you may be wondering which type of tree – real or fake - is the best for the planet.There's been plenty of research on this topic and the answer is clear: a real tree is the better option! If you already have an artificial tree, continue to use it for as long as you can. To minimize their environmental impact, artificial trees should ideally be used for up to 20 years, after which you should switch to a real tree.

Reduce, reuse & recycle right - Small changes to daily routines can make a big impact. Apply the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle right – and try to incorporate some of these tips into your holidays.

Large Steps

Eat your greens – From baking cookies to office potlucks, holiday parties to family dinners, food is one of the most abundant aspects of the holiday season. When you're deciding on the dishes that you're going to bring with you to your next potluck, or serve to your guests, it's important to consider their environmental effects. This holiday season, where possible, you should try to eat locally-grown, in-season foods, and increase the amount of plant-based proteins in your diet. Instead of viewing the choice to eat less meat as putting a damper on the holiday season and your holiday traditions, why not view it as an exciting opportunity to try out new dishes that may end up becoming staples in your diet?

Events, from head to toe – Whether you're hosting or attending an upcoming holiday party, there are plenty ways to make the whole affair more eco-friendly. If you don't have enough dishes or cutlery to accommodate all of your guests, why not ask your friends to lend a helping hand?

Looking for a new outfit to impress your family and friends? Consider buying a previously-loved outfit from a consignment or second-hand store. Not only is this better for the planet, but you might even be able to save a few bucks as well! Finally, when it comes to hair, make-up, and skin care, there are lots of planet-friendly salons and spas that are part of the the Live Green Perks app – it might even surprise you to know that one top salon heats their water using solar energy!

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