Wrap your gifts with recycled paper to reduce waste and save money. | Photo courtesy of istockphoto/diane555
Thanksgiving is over. The holiday decorations are up and shoppers are swarming the stores. While your thoughts may be on the list of gifts you need to buy, here at Energy Saver we've been busy making a list of a different sort. Using these energy-efficient tips will not only protect the planet, but will keep holiday cheer alive by saving you energy and money.
Thousands of paper and plastic bags end up in landfills energy year. Rather than adding to the number, shop with reusable cloth bags. This reduces waste and allows for sturdier transportation of your gifts (trust me I've ripped enough plastic bags, breaking gifts and spilling new clothes onto dirty snow, to have learned my lesson). If you don't plan to use cloth bags, try to consolidate your purchases into as few bags as possible.
Also remember to unload your car after shopping trips. Adding an extra 100 pounds to your vehicle can cost up to $.03 a gallon.
There tends to be an abundance of food during the holidays. Reuse empty glass jars, plastic tubs (I reuse my yogurt containers), coffee cans, or other containers you might be tempted to just throw away. These containers can be used to store leftovers or other miscellaneous items like ribbons for wrapping presents. Just be sure to wash them thoroughly before reusing.
If you have any whole, untouched food leftover after parties you can donate it to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
When you are throwing a holiday shindig, turn your thermostat down. The body heat from people gathered will heat your home, and turning down the heat will save money and prevent rooms from getting stuffy.
When you are decorating your home this holiday season, be sure to use LED lights. They only cost $0.27 to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days, compared to $10 for incandescent lights. Setting your lights on a timer will also ensure your lights turn on and off at specific times.
Also consider purchasing and decorating a potted tree. Then when the holidays are over you can plant it in your yard and reduce waste from cutting down and disposing of live trees. If you purchase a cut tree, look for local programs to recycle your tree. Many communities offer free mulching programs.
When you are wrapping your gifts, consider using recycled or reused paper. You can create your own custom wrapping paper using newspaper articles or magazine clippings. Also reusing gift bags and ribbons and bows reduces waste and saves money.
The holiday season is a time for giving, and we think there's no better way to celebrate than by giving back to the planet and saving energy and money in the process!