At Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M), we understand the importance of protecting the environment in which we live, work, and play, and we are always looking for ways to help the communities we serve be more sustainable.
As the holidays approach, we’d like to share a few tips on how you can make the season of giving a little more sustainable as well.
1. Shop Local. In 2016, transportation surpassed power plants as the number one producer of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States for the first time since 1979. This year, the US Postal Service will make roughly 850 million deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (1). When you shop local and purchase your gifts at small mom and pop shops, you support your local economy and reduce your carbon footprint by cutting out the need for package deliveries, (making your holidays just a little greener!).
2. Give more sustainable gifts. A great way to cut down on waste during the holidays is to simply buy less stuff. Try gifting services or fun outings instead of physical presents. Massages, salon visits, concerts, music lessons, sporting events, and museum tours all make great, thoughtful gifts. If you insist on having something to wrap, check out antique stores for one-of-a-kind, unique (not to mention, recycled) presents.
3. Rethink your gift wrap. Annually, the amount of garbage created from gift wrap and shopping bags in the United States totals over 4 million tons (2). We’d never suggest that you forgo wrapping presents for your loved ones altogether, but it’s possible to be both a master gift-wrapper and environmentally friendly. If you’re attached to traditional gift wrap, try buying rolls that are made from recycled paper. Avoid buying metallic, glossy gift wrap, as it’s very difficult to reuse and recycle. Like getting creative? Use homemade fabric gift bags or reusable bags in lieu of store-bought gift bags, or have some fun and wrap your presents with recycled comic strips or newspapers.
4. Use sustainable lighting. Try swapping traditional Christmas lights for solar-powered lights or LED lights, which use roughly 80% less energy than traditional lighting (helping the environment and your energy bill). We also suggest using timers for your Christmas lights to avoid leaving them on overnight.
5. Eat more veggies. We love ham and turkey around the holidays as much as you do, but by limiting your meat consumption and eating more fruits and vegetables, you can greatly reduce your carbon footprint (3). Offer to bring a new holiday veggie dish to your office potluck or try a new plant-based recipe for Christmas dinner. Your holidays will be greener and healthier!
6. Buy (or make) eco-friendly cards. It takes the harvesting of nearly 300,000 trees to make the amount of cards that are purchased in the United States during the average holiday season (1). Try buying cards that are made from recycled materials, or even better, make your own! You could also consider sending e-cards in lieu of printed cards this year.
Now go forth and spread some holiday cheer! Happy holidays from all of us at R/M.
Have questions on creating a more sustainable community? Contact an expert at R/M today.